Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Where do Broken Hearts Go?" That Thing Called Tadhana (Movie Review)

It's not everyday that an indie film goes mainstream. The last one that I watched was Alagwa, and it was beautiful, of course. And as you may know, I absolutely suck at watching romantic films, so I had my doubts on this film. But seeing Angelica Panganiban's scene where she cries a lot on John Lloyd films, well, I think this might not be a romantic film at all.

"That Thing Called Tadhana" (That Thing Called Destiny) is a CinemaOne Originals independent film entry by Antoinette Jadaone. I guess you could say I watched this film out of curiosity as to why a lot of people loved it, and also because of my "personal issues" and that the film somehow will be able to match my current tadhana (fate) right now. Here's my movie review.

The Sad Story

This is a rather normal story of a woman named Mace (Angelica Panganiban) going through a tough, shitty breakup and trying in vain to move on. Anthony (JM De Guzman) suddenly appears in her life in the most awkward situation of over-luggage at the airport. 

What started as just someone trying to comfort a woman and help her move on, became a road trip to a lot of scenic places in Luzon. Personally, I would do the same (this is why I like traveling often nowadays) because it gets your problems away, or if not, diminishes it.

While the plot is nothing out of the ordinary, the way it was told is quite amusing, and will actually make broken hearts feel better. Most Star Cinema romcoms (romantic comedies) will, as Panganiban played in the film, drain your tear glands away. But this, surprisingly, did not. I mean, I did cry when she revealed about her ex, even more that her situation is quite similar to my situation (making this truly a tadhana film, like every other stuff I saw which matched my current life situation well). But after that, the roadtrip gags just made me feel comfortable somehow.

Anti-Romance Humor

Yes, you've heard me. There's a lot of "bitter" stuff in this film, not to mention a lot of cursing. But that's just the naked truth. In the real world, couples don't really last forever - unless you do something about it. All of us have limits and these limits also put a limit to how much we can give ourselves and our hearts. 

I enjoyed a lot of the humorous scenes. Surely, this is not for kids because they will not really understand this until they've had their hearts broken. All those shitty teen romance, all those dreaming about "one day, I'll get married, blah blah blah", and...yeah. Not to mention, the "fuck this life" (tanginang buhay 'to, said by Panganiban in the first scene) kind of dialogues in the indie film. And let's not forget "one day, you'll break up" (balang araw, maghihiwalay din kayo) when Macy (Panganiban) gives the taxi to a flirting couple.

Graphic Designs

I can relate a lot to Anthony's graphic designing stuff. It reminds me a lot of my job, where most of the time, I just had to throw away doing things for myself just to earn a living. I'm almost halfway in quitting my stuff (original music, arts, music video making, storywriting) not necessarily because more people are famous than me, but because no matter how I try, someone will be better than me and I will not receive the kind of appreciation that I want for my hardwork. I had so many dreams: publish a book, make a real music video, sell a lot of albums, blah blah blah. But who cares, anyway, right? I'm over it. Right now, the sad reality is that, you have to fucking work and not think about yourself anymore.

On the other side, I like the simplistic but cute Flash-esque animation of Mace's story, "The Arrow with a Heart Pierced Through Him", which also reminded me of my storywriting drama, and that just one or two good compliments for me just makes my day and boosts my confidence, or in Mace's language, "I could've won a Palanca for this!". But sadly, she didn't and she never will (just like me).

Lessons Learned

I think that this film is trying to tell me something. Sure, not all of us can solve our problems, and this is why we entrust everything to fate. In my current situation, that's exactly it. And besides, most of us are just too tired to try again, anyway. It's like "fuck it, the same thing happens over and over again, but nothing ever changes no matter how hard I put an effort to it". 

But the ending of the film (which was a bit unexpected) had me questioning a bit. It was not only presented through a short story of "The Arrow with a Heart Pierced Through Him", but also answers the question "Where do Broken Hearts Go?" by Whitney Houston (I'm surprised they were able to pay for the copyright, since it was an indie film, after all). In the end, even if the arrow (Anthony) had helped the heart move on (Mace), it was that short but substantial friendship that was formed that led to a new beginning.

Should we apply this in real life? Yes and no. After all, there's a quote in the film by F. Scott Fitzgerald:
"There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice."
It technically means that all of us have different love stories and we shouldn't apply what we've seen in the movies (in Mace's case, John Lloyd and Star Cinema films) just because there's a small instance that made this and our life situation similar. This not only applies to romantic love, but also in the arts and storywriting (this is what people tell me when I got some unintentional predictions). The film is trying to tell most of us that WE can change our fate, even if its kind of pre-destined at some points. Those tadhana points are just guiding signs - kind of like traffic signs on where we should go. But what we should do depends upon us.

Right now, I can say that I'm still a person who is not capable of moving on (also because I'm born a Cancer and well, that's my brain/heart's problem, not yours). But the truth is that you don't have to move on. If you look at it in a different point of view, why are we even patronizing romantic love in the first place? Why was it so necessary for us to "have a boyfriend/girlfriend and get married and have kids" just because the society dictates us? Why is "friendzone" such an evil thing? Aren't best friends and family of any better than your "special one"

Perhaps "That Thing Called Tadhana" is also questioning why we get so worked up on too much Star Cinema films, Wattpad stories, and the like. It IS an indie film, after all. I don't call it "being bitter"; I call it being "open-minded", that there are, as the above quote said, all kinds of love in this world. It doesn't have to be a romantic relationship. You don't have to get married, get intimate or have kids just to be called a couple. It doesn't have to be male-female (yes, I'm looking at the not-so-open-minded traditionalists who still dislike LGBT couples). It could be any person, as long as that person is willing to help you feel comfortable with your life. 

As all of us are born differently, we lived differently and this is why, we develop different kinds of love. "Where do Broken Hearts Go?" Not necessarily in the arms of the one you love, but most likely, in the person who's willing to accept your broken heart and mend it.

Wow, so much for that long (personal-ish) movie review. I hope you guys enjoyed. If you want to add anything, please leave it in the comments. Thank you!

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