Loving in Tandem is the first movie of Pinoy Big Brother Lucky Season 7 love team Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber, more popularly known as Mayward.
It tells the story of Shine, a young woman trying to make ends meet and who is the pillar of her family, and Edward, a Filipino-American who has come to the Philippines for the first time to live with his estranged mother and his half brothers.
Though a romantic comedy at the core, this Star Cinema movie also delves deep into relationships between family members as well as neighbors and friends who become our family.
The story and screenplay by Kristine Gabriel is strong, especially in building each character.
Shine (Maymay) is a devoted young woman who is the breadwinner of their family. She is a people-pleaser, making it easy for other people to abuse her kindness.
Luke (Edward) is a young man scarred by a mother who abandoned him when he was young.
The characters are relatable, including Carmi Martin, as Luke’s mother who is the neighborhood’s mother figure but cannot make a connection with her Filipino-American son; Ketchup Eusebio as Shine’s brother who has fallen into a pattern of co-dependency; and Cacai Bautista as Shine’s sister-in-law, who tries her best to help provide for her small family but is unable to be both mother and provider.
Gabriel’s script gives the actors a lot of substance, so that they deliver relatable and believable performances. Even the usual “patawa” Ryan Bang shows depth!
Also to the credit of director Giselle Andres, she is able to draw out portrayals from her cast that go deeper than caricatures. For example, Edward’s Luke is more than an Amboy with a twang. He is able to show that his wounds are deep and that he is finding it difficult to forgive his mother.
Thou Reyes as his older brother gives an even performance that anchors scenes that could have otherwise become slapstick; Ryan Bang, as another half-brother, tempers his funny lines with compassion; and Marco Gallo, as Luke’s other half-brother is endearing.
The more veteran members of the cast shine. Noteworthy also is Xymon "Onyok" Pineda, who plays Macmac, Shine’s nephew. He is candid, cute, and brings us close to tears in at least two scenes.
Though they have their moments—MayWard and KissMarc definitely make us kilig—the young lead stars are still finding their footing. With each other, they act very naturally.
Maymay and Edward could move people when their characters encounter problems involving their families. But when their acting becomes uneven, it is obvious to the viewer.
There is sequence involving a missing character that borders on the absurd.
With a running time of two hours long, it could test the patience of some viewers.
The story is very Filipino. It could very well happen in a neighborhood, in an eskinita, like so many all over the Philippines.
Gabriel obviously knows the milieu well because nothing seems forced—unless those that are meant to be, particularly, the almost dream-like, slow-mo sequences that happen often between Maymay and Edward.
The characters in the movie, as I said, are relatable. They are the Juans and Marias at present, trying their best to survive in the small space they have in the world.
Watch for the entertaining part when the brothers put together a video entry to the question: What do you love about the Philippines? It is at once funny and poignant in its portrayal of that Filipino heart that we all believe beats strong for each other and makes us unique as a people.
Loving in Tandem, which is Graded B by the Cinema Evaluation Board, is now being shown in cinemas nationwide.
Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial staff.