‘Starting Over Again’ is a material that is nothing new, but given the ‘twists’ created by the writers-Carmi Raymundo and Anj Persumal with the impressive performances of the cast members led by Piolo Pascual, Toni Gonzaga, Iza Calzado, and Lito Pimentel—it has made this one film with so much ‘interesting’ things to talk about as well as more reasons for people to camp in their theaters just to watch this over and over again.
The latest Valentine offering of Star Cinema that brings together the ‘dream-come-true’ partner of Toni Gonzaga—Piolo Pascual in one movie is already phenomenal.
The chase scene where the character of Ginny Gonzales (Gonzaga) was shown; as she goes after (just to find that ‘one chance’ to either ‘flirt’ or ‘win back’ the man he used to love) Marco Villanueva (Pascual) was already done in previous romantic comedy flicks from Star Cinema, very similar is the one with 2010 film ‘My Amnesia Girl’. However, what made it worked is the actors’ capacity to connect with their audience on how it is to fight for love. In fact, this device or ‘struggles’ incorporated in stories was also done in the 1997 film ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’.
Putting the three lead stars together in this project is another powerful move. As an actress, Toni has really matured in her craft. She may be considered the local Julia Roberts or the Meg Ryan of today. Pascual on the other hand always shines through especially in the famous confrontation scene between him and Gonzaga, where he did a litany of his pains and demanding explanation for what the woman did to him in the past.
Iza Calzado tackled her character Patty De Guia with such ease and sophistication. No other actress today can match the one she displayed. Her short moments and her confrontation scene with Gonzaga were perhaps going to be another ‘quotable lines’ or ‘unforgettable lines’ in Philippine cinema. I disagree that there should be another actress who can figure in to assume the role. Calzado’s face is the most charming and the most innocent-looking face there is that can erupt with ‘grace’ even in the most unlikely difficult scenes.
Lito Pimentel’s scene is one of the most memorable ones in the film. He as the father of Ginny was able to reflect a character that valued the loss of time and not spending it to the fullest.
‘Starting Over Again’ does not promise ‘happy endings’ that most romantic films resort to just to make its audience ‘feel good’. It was successful enough to provide a more practical and not a fairytale-ish kind of ending. It is but most fitting to say that Ginny indeed deserves to be ‘happy’ and she did have her ‘happy ending’ with the man destined for her. That being said, it is a piece that would guide audiences on what to do in a ‘breakup’ and how one chooses to move on, and learn to not give up to love again.
Apart from its commercial appeal, Star Cinema was able to capture issues about love—the ‘ifs’, the ‘buts’, and the ‘what must have beens’. There really is no such thing as un-loving someone just like as un-friending someone. The film teaches how to embrace reality and take whatever past hurts has given someone and use it to an advantage to be a ‘better person’ someday.
Directed by Philippines’ known romantic director Olivia Lamasan is still showing in theaters nationwide, it has a good casting, has good storytelling, and a film that is empowering for moviegoers.