“What and If, are two words as non-threatening as words can be” says Claire, Amanda Seyfried character in the american movie, Letters to Juliet. “But put them together side-by-side, and they have to power to haunt you forever.”
What if? What if? What if?
It is the same mystery that has kept those who have witnessed the love story of Popoy and Basha get built and destroyed in “One More Chance”, haunted for eight years. And now that it is happening, comes the persistent apprehension whether it really is worth-it to visit those pains again. What if Popoy and Basha got married? What if it didn’t work out? What if a bigger disaster fell onto them?
“A Second Chance” delves into the unfathomable depth of these questions, and when it does, it gets painfully honest and beautifully tragic , at the same time.
The film picks up at Popoy finally deciding to marry Basha after turning down an offer to work overseas. As a new couple, their beginning sees the piling of their dreams like blocks of the house they both intend to build. They form a firm, and prepare themselves for the family they aspire to build. Everything they want to acomplish seems to be at the right place, in the beginning, except several years later, they stumble upon the very verge of destruction of their dreams and relationship: Basha suffers through a miscarriage, the dream house remains a “dream”, and Popoy struggles to keep his firm from breaking apart. The misfortunes do not seem to stop, and they come in seemingly uninterrupted string, and Popoy’s temper being constantly easily agitated, and Basha always acting too bossy and demanding, just do not help, that eventually, it gets apparent that these two are the same ones pushing themselves past their limits. It is arguably a relentlessness that tires its audience at some point, but it does shed some light on some beautiful parts—no matter how excruciatingly painful they are to witness—that keep the film together.
There is a persistent flaw that unavoidably scars the narrative, and the film begins stumbling upon itself, notably on moments where the film inevitably drops references to the first movie, which could have been more effective if they did not feel forced. The film feeds too much on the disasters of its characters that at a certain point it gets manipulatively sadistic, and that gets frustrating at some instances.
The proceedings runs on a continuous wallop of emotional moments, most of which consist blocks of Popoy and Basha’s relationship crushing asunder. These heavy moments thrust the film into attention, delivering relatably heart-crippling sentiments that bear no less than searing capacity.
The film operates best this way, shredding the bits of the excruciating honesty embedded in the details of its entirety—it renders us breathless and crippled by the pain on one moment, builds us up with its fatal dosages of “kilig” on the next, only to ultimately rend our heart apart, in the end.
“A Second Chance” bares all the possible horrors of relationships that most of us are terrified to face. That does not sound sensitive, at all, but if people are ironically just seemingly taking pleasure going through these heartaches over and over again, you can at least acknowledge the film as yet another reminder.
No powerful sentiment—let alone as piercingly genuine and honest as what “A Second Chance” has—can be delivered with resonating, heart rupturing believably, without the maneuver of equally credible actors.
Both John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo are at their best, here, both shining in every breathtaking moment that showcases the full extent of their artistry. The devastating lines, even the cheesy lines, feel a bit awkward at the moment, but I have a strong feeling they will eventually turn into classics, the same way those in the first film, did.
“A Second Chance” is evidently flawed by some apparently rushed editing jobs, and it persistently stumbles over awkward narrative choices. But if anything, those very same flaws have what made the small, yet significant heartbreaking moments, shine, and that is more than enough for a film that mainly aspires to touch hearts, even when it has to make us crumble apart so we could be whole again.
At its core, the film treads on the tangible parts of our humanity, our relationships, and its asks questions that urge us to assess our very own situations. Blame Cathy Garcia-Molina for weaving a film so deftly and on point that it shatters our hearts apart, but at least it has the courage to make us arrive at some stunning and life changing realizations, ones that allows us build us up again.
Do I think Popoy and Basha deserve that chance? Don’t we, all?
RATING: 9/10 (JE)