Though the team-up of Dawn Zulueta and Richard Gomez has already spanned two decades, it is quite admirable that they can still draw sharp attention in the midst of much younger and perhaps more bankable competitions. This for me is a good indicator that a significant segment of the Pinoy movie going public are also looking up to show business personalities that have withstood the test of time. The Love Affair, the latest pairing of Dawn and Richard under Star Cinema, is a sure crowd drawer. But while the film has some fine qualities, I was gratified that I just watched it in a low-key cinema, otherwise I may have felt ripped-off had I viewed it in a more expensive theater.
1. Richard Gomez and Bea Alonzo’s romance may be equated to a glass of water stored overnight in a freezer. There is no chemical reaction.
2. But thanks to Dawn Zulueta, who shimmers more as she ages and whose portrayal of a woman navigating between remorse and resilience serves as the film’s moral compass, Richard Gomez’s parched performance was somehow saved. After all these years, Dawn and Richard’s pairing can still captivate. Somehow.
3. Minus Richard, Bea Alonzo on her own in a role that is part adversary and part protagonist effectively functioned as the film’s emotional force. After shuttling from being a defeated human being to a woman so determined to claim what was not necessarily hers, albeit hysterically, she eventually turned out strong and just. I would like to see her grow further in more diverse roles.
4. Coffee figured prominently in the film. I wish Dawn shared how she prepares her Nescafe, which must be so good that it is a staple in Richard’s relationship with her. Grab Taxi also had some airtime, which reminded me of the way too obvious advertisements of BDO and other brands in last July’s The Breakup Playlist. Just what exactly is this trend of using the big screen as vehicles to promote products and services? I don’t like it all.
5. These days, soap operas are scavenging on the subject of infidelity and its justifications. The Love Affair builds on this plot. This time, though, the table was turned and it was the man who is now emotionally suffering after being wronged by his now empowered wife. There is clearly cause for possible feminist retaliation. Moreover, the film struggled to maturely deal with loyalty issues confronting modern day relationships by rationalizing the choices of the characters. These are illustrated through flashbacks and long character narratives, which in this case denote weakness in the screenplay.
6. The sex scenes are atrocious.