In a world filled with hopeless romantics, Irene Villamor’s Ulan encapsulates the meaning of ‘finding yourself before finding love.’
Ulan tells the story of Maya (Nadine Lustre) who grew up believing her Lola’s myths of finding true love against all odds, so much that it came to an extent that she shaped her life and expectations through such philosophy. However, after being disappointed by the unfortunate events in her love life — the engagement of her childhood crush to someone else, and the painful breakup with her first boyfriend — she swears to herself that she’ll never cry again for someone else, nor hold on to the foolish notion of love coming for her.
Just as when she decides to focus on other things like her career, fate brings her to a social welfare volunteer named Peter (Carlo Aquino) who tags her into the world of charitable works. The two of them quickly get along but with both swearing a promise not to fall head over heels again, circumstances immediately lead them apart. Ironically, it is on those days when she’s alone that Maya finds the true meaning of love and gets back her identity in the process. When the time comes that she has come to terms of how she truly feels, her conviction grows even stronger that neither rain or storm can stop it.
Ulan gives us a picture of life and love, challenge by an ominous superstition in its backdrop. It perfectly places the Philippine folklore about the Tikbalang myth as it relates so much to Maya’s character journey. The subversity of the romance genre unexpectedly gives so much heart to its proceedings. As seen in the trailer, this is not your guilty pleasure hugot film, but it manages to come above that and be a fun-filled and lighthearted experience. It simply shows how life can be with the presence of a significant other, yet it does not reinforce the need for such to be truly happy. It is so poetic that it lets us discover love with our own interpretations. Aside from having a heartfelt story, viewers will also enjoy the spectacular visuals and cinematography that is less seen in a regular local film. Truly, every scene is alluring and captivating.
What’s even great is the film’s element of unpredictability as it nudges on your curiosity to comprehend its profound symbolisms. It is through these unique narrative choices that the film draws a breath of fresh air, as well as letting its audience bring out their inner child. When all is said and done, the screenplay proves to be a well written piece that it leaves you satisfied rather than having a heavy heart.
The cast members remarkably did a wonderful job in portraying their characters to make this film more watchable. There’s no pre-existing magic here since the leads don’t belong on the same love team, the film earns it along the way. Lustre stands out as a wonderful lead as she shows an array of skills that is beyond the reach of an average actor. Her endearing antics and unexpected chemistry with Aquino prove that she can stand on her own, making this film as indeed one of her bests. Aquino, on the other hand, is still charming as he plays an efficient supporting role that shows off his flexibility. Together, their chemistry builds a deep meaning that should make the viewers yearn for more.
More than just a love story, Ulan takes you to a ride to self-discovery, with a pleasant twist of the Philippine folklore experience.
4.5 out of 5 stars
One response to “‘Ulan’ review: Nadine Lustre’s best performance yet”
‘love the movie. Poetic, mystical, metaphorical. Definitely NOT a commercial nor a formulaic film. Brilliant cinematography and production design. Nadine shines.