It’s easy to dismiss Star Cinema’s new romantic drama, “The Love Affair”, as merely another re-enactment of countless similar movies, that have piled up within its category. The colossal movie outfit has been digging the infidelity/adultery material over the years, bringing in movies like “A Love Story”, “The Misstress”, and “No Other Woman”, to the big screen, and the returns to them have been utterly overwhelming.
So when Star Cinema decided to dig the gold mine further, it was no more a surprise.
“The Love Affair” will come across as merely another entry to its ever-inviting genre, and it will all boil down to the film’s narrative eloquence and its actors’ credibility. While that it’s true, something new is touched in the digging.
Normally, in movies where a love triangle is central to the story, the guy or the husband is the one who starts the conflict, this time, in “The Love Affair”, it’s the wife. The narrative places the unusual subject on the spotlight, and surprisingly conjures a yet another compelling case of a complex and forbidden love affair.
Patricia Ramos (Dawn Zulueta), is an accomplished bussinesswoman, but the feeling of being disregarded by her husband, Vince (Richard Gomez), has made her welcome the unrequited affection of her bestfriend, Greg (Ton-Ton Gutierrez). Unluckily for her, Vince catches them in their what could be seen a sweet moment.
What happens next? Your guess is as good as mine. Bea Alonzo’s character, Adie, a young lawyer, comes into the picture—a beautiful temptation Vince has no capability to resist, in the wake of his disgust and feeling of being betrayed by his wife. The complications roll out from here, but it keeps coming back to who started it all: Patricia.
There’s probably more to explore within the scope of the film’s already limited premise, but Director Ruel Naval, takes more of what is extremely familiar yet relatable aspects of his material, and serves them straight to the audience through his actors’ credible delivery. Yes, the storytelling surely isn’t perfect, but the actors playing the lead characters make up for this flaw, delivering their roles with so much affection and relatability.
In the end, the lack of perfect conjugations among its proceedings is covered by the cast’s outstanding performances. Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta as a pair, oozes with reminiscent chemistry, the moments they share, though usually pinch the heart, are magical.
These seasoned actors know well their craft, and they maneuver their characters with so much ease and control, even when they are actually thinly-structured. The same can be said with Bea. She exudes further maturity here, tackling her role with credibility that’s never less than the most powerful she could probably serve. The power of this trio makes up for everything the narrative has messed up with, and it’s with their unquestionable capability that the film is able to gather strength.
Perhaps, no one can right away conclude whether the film has freed itself from the shackles of the tired formula it used, but for all the efforts it delivered to somehow veer away from its limits, “The Love Affair” may have made itself an exception.
Most worth-noting perhaps, is that it keeps its conflict less physical and histrionic, eliminating the more physical fights and toning down the often noisy and chaotic word war, between the female rivals.
Here, the two lead actreses, Dawn and Bea, still bear their unmissable poise, and maintain their elegance, even during moments when their glares and quiet, but searing words, against each other, are almost fatal. The film sheds more light to its characters’ smoldering emotions, but gathers enough heat to deliver explosions of sentiments , and the result is more than enough to strike a chord with the audience.
It will be totally unfair to assess this movie solely based on originality and inventiveness. There’s an evident effort to spice up the formula, but one can’t deny its inability to totally escape the confines of its tired-and-tested plot.
Be that as it may, “The Love Affair” will still appeal to many, will tug at the audience’s heartstrings with its tangible sentiments that are relatable enough to draw attention, and thus, will pierce through hearts embittered by similar romantic disasters as that of Patricia, Adie, and Vince.
RATING: 8/10 (JE)