One More Chance has always been the original hugot film, especially for this generation. It is the movie that young Filipino lovers have watched and rewatched and at every viewing, tears have been shed, memorized lines repeated as they play out on screen. So when the sequel was announced, it was met with mixed reactions. Many voiced concerns that it was an unnecessary exercise, an addition to what some people thought was perfect already. So when the movie opened this week, the question was that will the film hold up to its previous installment.
In A Second Chance we find Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz) and Basha (Bea Alonzo) taking the next step in their relationship, marriage. The first act is an expositionof the happy newlyweds, the optimism and the come what may attitude of those who are new to married life evident. After their wedding, Popoy and Basha start their own firm and are living the a life of ebullient happiness. However, the film turns into an examination of what marriages actually are, with the initial euphoria turning sour when wedded bliss hits the hard wall of reality. There’s the keeping up of pretenses. The ugly and painful truths. The hard decisions. The what ifs versus the what is. A dying love story told in intense anger and uncomfortable silences. You see the light dying in their eyes, and in the middle of the movie, a proposition is presented – is love really enough?
The movie benefits greatly from the established chemistry of John Lloyd and Bea, their long body of work making their on screen characters very believable. Cathy Garcia Molina again helms the film and though you feel a heavy dose of formula moving the story, formula is good as long as it is executed well.
The hugot lines are there. Words that you hold on to and stick to you. Yet instead of feeling like lines from a movie, the conversations feel real because these are the conversations that real relationships go through. It highlights hard realities that are found in marriages and the gut punch will be most felt by movie goers who are married already.
That’s why the film works and why it’s a necessary addition to Popoy and Basha’s story. It shows relationships for what they really are, works in progress. Sometimes our foundations crumble under the strain. Sometimes we do not even know what we are building. In many ways, even if our own love stories are vastly different, their love story resonates with our own because it feels real to us. We also ask the same questions found in the movie. We also ask if love is truly enough to sustain us. And like in the movie, sometimes we find out that it was all we ever needed.
Four out of five stars.