How many times can you turn a blind eye on someone’s shortcomings? In This Time I’ll Be Sweeter, third time was definitely the charm for Erika (Barbie Forteza) and Tristan (Ken Chan).
Director Joel Lamangan explores the complexities and pitfalls of modern relationships in This Time I’ll Be Sweeter.
Erika and Tristan meet in college, where a simple class interview leads to a no-label relationship between the two characters. Tristan keeps his overly friendly demeanor towards Erika, which makes her believe that she is special to Tristan. Her illusions begin to fall apart upon finding out that Tristan is seeing someone else, and he uses the same old excuse that probably every single millennial in the dating world has heard before – “Hindi naman naging tayo.” (We were never in a relationship).
This Time I’ll Be Sweeter does its best to portray the common sentiments of millennials in various aspects of their life. From delving into the dating behavior of younger people who usually don’t feel comfortable in defining their relationships, to overachievers such as Erika who are struggling to adjust to the workplace where they are not always the favorite or the best in the pack.
The film makes an effort to show the parallel lives of Erika and Tristan, wherein Erika leads a simple life but has a strong support system from her family, while Tristan comes from a wealthy family but has little connection with his parents. His only comfort was his younger sister, who eventually passed. Upon his sister’s passing, Tristan found solace in his escapist nature where he turns to alcohol whenever he faces more adversaries in life.
This Time I’ll Be Sweeter had its dull moments, along with some dragging scenes, yet the undeniable chemistry between Barbie and Ken saved most of it.
Ken Chan also had moments where he owned the scene, especially when he begins exploring the vulnerability of his character. Those moments he would lash out on other people or have his quiet moments when he would just cry his heart out over the loss of his sister. Somehow, Ken Chan managed to humanize a character that most people – in real life – would end up disliking.
Let’s get this out of the way: This Time I’ll Be Sweeter sends out a risky message to its viewers by showing that it’s okay to forgive someone so easily, no matter how many times they have treated you like dirt. Yes, dirt.
The two actors may have had undeniable chemistry, but their characters have both been terrible to each other. Aside from Tristan’s constant dishonesty towards Erika, he doesn't seem to comprehend the amount of pain he caused Erika.
When a tragedy strikes Tristan, Erika showed her insensitive side by pestering him for an interview despite seeing how damaged he was.
In the end, Erika quit her job as a journalist in a TV network since she felt like it did not align with her morals, yet her lack of remorse for what she did to Tristan already made her morals questionable.
This Time I’ll Be Sweeter may leave a bitter taste among its viewers due to the blind forgiveness Erika gave Tristan, but we can find its redeeming qualities in the film’s effort to show the importance of building meaningful relationships with one’s family – as seen through Erika.
Ed's Note: The 'PEP Review' section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial team.