Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Mr. and Mrs. Cruz (Sigrid Andrea Bernardo, 2018)



Where do broken hearts go?

This question was asked to a female colleague in our company. Her reply was Sagada. I don't know if she's a movie buff but she may have been influenced by the blockbuster movie That Thing Called Tadhana. That film was so popular that a Baguio/Sagada Tour was created to trace the places visited by the movie characters.

Now, if that question will be asked after Valentine's Day this year, I'll bet Palawan will figure prominently among the top answers.

Filmmaker Sigrid Andrea Bernardo follows up her blockbuster movie Kita Kita with another irresistible love story, Mr. and Mrs. CruzBernardo fell in love with the beauty of Palawan and collaborated on a story of two broken-hearted strangers joining a group tour of Palawan.

Raffy Cruz (JC Santos) returns to Palawan to savor the good memories of his relationship with an ex-fiancee. Jilted on his wedding day, Raffy joins a tour group with no intention of making friends. Gela Cruz (Ryza Cenon) is a wife who left her husband to do find herself. Her soul-searching expedition took a detour to Palawan.

Raffy and Gela shares several things in common aside from their surname. Both are curly-haired and both have been smitten with the splendor of Palawan. Both are talkative although Gela took some time to get in the flow of sharing her past. The pair, usually mistaken as a married couple because of their common surname, decided to play along that line. In the course of their 'marriage', they talked about marriage, love relationships, commitment, and other topics under the sun including ATM and a Disney-Pixar cartoon character.

The bed scene, while expected and foreshadowed at the start, is not what I imagine it to happen at room 214. (Argh, Valentine’s day is just around the corner). Yes, we've heard and seen Raffy's account of what happened after they left the bar. But, there are questions left unanswered.

How is it that the shoulder straps of Gela's swimsuit are in disarray?
How come Gela is clean and refreshed?

My initial hunch is that something happened but after the screening forum with the director, I'm not so sure anymore. After hearing so much of the film Before Sunrise in discussions about two-character films, Bernardo shared that she watched the critically-acclaimed American film and made an effort not to copy it. If she makes a sequel about the two Cruzes, I doubt that she will go back to the bed scene and show a more revealing version of it.

Mr. and Mrs. Cruz benefits from the chemistry of the two leads, JC Santos and Ryza. Director Bernardo inserted an annoying Caucasian tourist so the audience can focus on the two Cruzes. The bar scene and the bed scene show the awesomeness of the pair. A tipsy Gela utters the unforgettable line 'Ang lalim pala dito.'

The farewell scene hints of a possible ever-after for the couple. All Raffy has to do is to correctly guess her phone number. Are the missing two digits a page number in the Romeo and Juliet book? Even if it is not a page number, Raffy can dial in a hundred possibilities and he will hit pay dirt. So, will it be Batanes for the Cruzes?

During the forum after the free screening, three male moviegoers professed their admiration for Bernardo's filmography. I am also a fan of Bernardo's love stories. I was surprised to hear that she started her film career as an actress for a Lav Diaz film. She worked her way around until she became an award-winning film director.

What if somebody asks me the question 'where do broken hearts go'?

My answer will be Movie Theaters.  

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