Thursday, July 14, 2016

Coincidences and Shakespeare: Imagine You & Me (Movie Review)

As a gift to my mom for her 56th birthday, this July 13, 2016 (which is exactly her birthday), I've decided to treat her and some family members to the much-anticipated movie of the year: "Imagine You & Me" starring AlDub, comprised of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza (Yaya Dub).

Compared to their half-baked MMFF 2015 entry (that probably ended up like that due to time constraints), here's what I had to say about the movie (without spoiling, of course).

Every Coincidence can be Significant

The movie not only focuses on Andrew (Alden) and Gara (Maine) crossing paths on Italy. It also shows other extras who also fall into a similar significant bumping into each other more than twice. Like this one teleserye said, "twice is coincidence, three is fate". I like the idea that all of us are meant for someone, but I don't like the idea that it has to be, *sigh* romantic love.

Heartbreaks Aren't Only for Romance

Shifting with that romance cliche, Gara breaks the ice by telling off Andrew that "romance isn't the only source of heartbreak" as she was also greatly depressed when her parents told her that she can't go to school anymore due to budget. This is the "maine" reason why I like Maine in a sense - she displays a witty, philosophical aura that most mainstream ladies don't have. 

She knows how to break the typical "damsel in distress for love" stereotype. Her character slowly grows to realize that romantic love is not important, but loving a person without expecting anything in return is more important, which is something I want to pinpoint to the faces of every Filipino ever.

Issue with "Dolce Amore" and "Milan"

Actually, mom was having second thoughts on this film, that it will be like Piolo and Claudine's "Milan". I also said that it might have been a rip-off from the simultaneously rising "Dolce Amore" with James Reid and Nadine Lustre. It would seem everyone thinks Italy is the only romantic place in Europe (or in the world for that matter). 

I would've liked it if they did it in Paris, since that's kind of also romantic, but seeing the plot central to the Romeo and Juliet theme, that's probably why they have to do it in Verona instead even if they have to face bashers who are probably solid JaDine fans. And contrary to the sad and serious tones of "Milan", like my mom said, "Imagine You & Me" was more on the bright, comic side due to Maine's absolute dorkiness. 

Jasmine Curtis-Smith? How in the world?

We all know that Jasmine is the ever-loving sister of Anne Curtis from Showtime, the *obvious* rival of Eat Bulaga, who was also formerly on TV5. I honestly wonder how they got her in the film, but nonetheless, she plays a VERY IMPORTANT role, so you should brace yourselves. No spoilers.

Unconventional Romance Continues

True to their Kalyeserye vibe, AlDub continues to break traditions with their so-called "relationship" being unlabled, which is a good thing for me. I know I heard Alden in an interview stating:

"We don't need labels for our relationship."

Ah, if only every "love team" or even common couple, best friends, soulmates, competitive rivals, etc. would be like this, then we won't have to have stereotyped romance everyday and the words "friendzone" and "NBSB" would be gone forever and ever.

Gara (Maine)'s Occupation Similar to my Mom's Sister's

Strangely enough, as if the release date wasn't enough, mom's sister in France also has the same exact job that Gara does - cleaning the houses of various foreigners or taking care of their pets, etc. Let me tell you - it's extremely exhausting, but yeah, that's what most Pinoys do over at Europe, anyway.

Never Judged Angsty Selfish People like Andrew (Alden) without Knowing the Cause

When mom asked me how I felt about Andrew shouting at Gara for the first few moments of the film, I told her "I didn't get angry at him at all - from the get go I felt sad, worried and I just wanted to hug him" simply because I have a best friend who is a lot like his character. Gara doesn't understand how hard it has been for Andrew because she was "never in a real heartbreak yet". So bottom line, PLEASE DON'T ANNOY DEPRESSED AND SUICIDAL PEOPLE WITH YOUR POSITIVE VIBES because not everyone can be saved with just thinking positive. 

You have to do it SLOWLY and not in an annoying way like what Gara did, in real life of course. Nonetheless, Gara did try to stick her nose into Andrew's problems not to be chismosa but to help him in any way she can, because of her deep love for the person.

On the flip side, I could also absolutely relate to Gara in a way (bonus point: Gara is the maine character for my RPG Maker original game, "It's a Small World", released waaaaay back 2013, which was also dedicated to that said friend of mine). I have an uncontrollable mouth at the very most but I never make chismis when it's not necessary. However, if I were in Gara's shoes, I would've done the same thing she did on the *spoiler* ending that I won't tell you about.

In-Movie Advertising Count: 1 (Hooray!)

Contrary to all MZET, APT and Vic Sotto produced films, surprisingly "Imagine You & Me" has only ONE product endorsement within the film (that isn't too obvious anyway): McDonalds. This is mostly because nearly the whole thing was shot in Italy so no Pinoy products there.

The Maine Plot

Let me just give you a hint of the *spoiler* plot. If you ever played .hack//G.U. volume 1 to 3 then you will notice a  BIG similarity to the whole plot. That's all I can say for now. You'd have to watch it to find out. So if you liked dotHack's unconventional story line then you will absolutely adore this or relate to it somehow. If you yourself or you have a suicidal or depressed friend then you will all the more relate to the film a lot, since Andrew's problems aren't just about romance.

In Conclusion

Overall, if this movie was a product in Amazon, I'd rate it about 4.8 out of 5 stars for Maine's great comic acting (which got my dad interested even though, like me, he absolutely loathes romantic films) and for Alden's award-winning tearjerker moments. Plus points to Ken Chan, Jerald Napoles (!!), Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Cacai Bautista and the rest of the cast for without them, there would be no backdrop to this unconventional Romeo and Juliet.

Bonus: Imagine You & Me in 6 languages: English, Tagalog, Japanese and 3 Original Languages (Enidoukan, Jeleiyan, Sky Language)

Commonly Asked Question: Did Andrew use Peck? You'd have to watch to find out!

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