MOVIE REVIEW: A Second Chance (2015)

A Second Chance is that realization of an eight-year frustration of many to have a follow-up for the blockbuster hit romantic movie One More Chance. There are those who oppose the slightest idea, noting that the original piece would suffice on its own since, as it has turned out, it has become a classic film—something that would easily come to mind whenever we think of that emotionally-filled movie where all the heartfelt “hugot” could possibly be.

Last year, One More Chance was even part of the project of ABS-CBN Film Restoration where its original copy was remastered, making it a high-quality addition to the long roster of restored classic Filipino films. The premiere of that version may not have been a well-attended event at last year’s Cinema One Originals film festival but it has later on gained popularity when it became available in iTunes.

Not to mention, Popoy and Basha has long since been household names and common cheering references among group of friends and even lovers. As the memories of One More Chance evolve into something very personal to the lives of the audience that has patronized it back in 2007, so is the demand to come up with a sequel. It is a fascinating idea at first, but along the way, it just does not seem right for others that the couple’s story is continued through brute force. Rumors spread early this year about the materialization of this big project, ultimately ending up with the revelation that the material of was turned into a novel by Juan Miguel Sevilla.

Hopeful fans did not lose their faith until a teaser of the ancitipated sequel was revealed. It was too soon long after that production outfit Star Cinema came up with a title: A Second Chance—without minding that the title “One More Chance” already suggests that after all it could be a second, third, fourth or nth chance. Afterwards, a playdate was announced: November 25. Everybody becomes excited, if not merely curious or contemplative, over the reality that Popoy and Basha are paired anew on the big screen.

a second chance bea alonzo john lloyd cruz 1

A Second Chance takes an observant look at the lives as a married couple of Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz) and Basha (Bea Alonzo). When he gives up a chance to work in Europe, they begin a firm together with him being the head engineer and her the head architect. It is a dream come true for them to do what they love in the morning, lie on bed together in the evening and find themselves in each other’s arms when they wake up.

As Popoy and Basha start a family, they are faced with the challenges of being married: the endless bickering over superficial matters, the exhaustion from the normalcy, and to a certain point the regrets and the ghosts that still haunt their past.

The struggle in keeping their relationship stands parallel to the problems they encounter at work. When all things seem fine and all hardworks are laid on the table, the result can either be extremely positive or negative. However the couple strive for the best outcomes possible, things just does not work as expected. Basha becomes highly affected by her miscarriage while Popoy makes lame efforts in surviving the firm. On the side, they are building their dream house in the hopes of fulfilling a dream larger than themselves–only to be short in realizing that they have to build their relationship first on the solid grounds of trust, understanding and loyalty. In every step of the way, their every decision largely contributes on how they look at each other at breakfast or on how they use their own feelings to fight against each other. The same two hearts that fell in love are the same two hearts that are falling out of hand.

The charm and sparks are still there along the maturity of the John Lloyd-Bea tandem (for the lack of better loveteam portmanteau–Come on, it’s not a fad a decade ago). They have come to be who they should be as they just perform naturally while exhaling an air of sincerity to their roles. With these, it is easy to look way past Basha’s horrible wig, or Popoy’s paranoia, or the annoying product placements, or the poor sound mix and musical score, or those unsettled issues, or their stubborness, or even the devastating fact that they appear to still not know each other that well after all these years. Director Cathy Garcia-Molina knows her craft as she has focused on touching the audience right in time despite lacking on cinematic grasp to make the visuals look better. She has valued the growth that came along their way, perhaps knowing that it would be useful in coming up with a sequel that could stand on its own.

Together with the rest of the people behind One More Chance and A Second Chance, the lives of its characters have turned into something more meaningful in spite of resulting to chaos. The more essential aspect is the rebuilding: the desire to make amends and start afresh.

It’s quite difficult to imagine revisiting A Second Chance anytime soon, not because it is a terrible film but because it tackles depressing issues in an equally depressing tone. At the end of the day, just like in any other Star Cinema products, everybody deserves to find the happiness they deserve.

In A Second Chance, it is expected to see how it would take its final bow, but for something that is brave enough to go deeper into a rare examination of the anatomy of post-honeymoon and the younger years of marriage, it is a glaring miss overpowered by the necessity to work on a formula. The audience leaves the theaters still with a smile on their faces but with a burning thought that they better not end up being yet another Popoy or Basha with all those pains and hurts.

Now how about a sequel in the next eight years à la Before trilogy?

a second chance movie poster

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