There is a consummate grace in ‘Exes Baggage’ that keeps it afloat amid its oversized sentimentality. Tones and colors are deftly engaged with texture that the form they create reveals striking dynamics between the players and the bittersweet landscape confining them to an emotional love affair.
Like ‘That Thing Called Tadhana,‘ the film arrives at a cathartic epiphany that comes on the heels of a desire to seek some form of personal liberation. In the film it exists in two people’s effort to free themselves from the unnecessary baggage of both their past relationships and the one they are committing themselves into.
Those two people, former lovers, Nix (Carlo Aquino) and Pia (Angelica Panganiban), find a raw connection through the languid pace of their correspondence.
Like that of his contemporaries, Dan Villegas‘ take on relationships is mostly dialogue-driven, allowed to grow in the film through the lazy but intimate rhythm to which Nix and Pia are made to dance.
It edges the film’s frames with a sense of ambivalence, but it enables the narrative to underscore patient conversations and allow them to muster a confident level of affection, inviting the audience to a seemingly enigmatic story world that is both too delicate and chaotic at the same time–chaotic in the sense that it bares the inevitably destructive pains of a challenged romance, without excuse.
There is a bubbling strain that binds the script’s loose ends together, weaving a still compelling tale of a tirelessly hopeful romance. Angelica Panganiban, being a primal conduit to that force, pulls off Pia with a singularly magnificent effort–not that she actually needs to exert any. Panganiban radiates with an empathic maneuver of the character that she makes Pia’s heartaches inescapably affecting and relatable.
To be fair, Pia does not bear a form of multi-dimensionality–as characters of dialogue driven romances often are–but Panganiban simply bypasses this flaw by fully immersing herself into the depths of her character.
Aquino takes on Nix in practically the exact same fashion, but his character’s most memorable moments are the ones he shares with Pia.
Ultimately, ‘Exes Baggage’ is a staggeringly breathtaking portrait of a beautiful romance, fully shredded out of painfully nostalgic truths that the film bravely imparts.
And while the conclusion never really leaves an impact to at least rival prior important moments in the film, the whole leaves a lasting hopeful impression that may be indelible, or at least, lingering, for a while.
5 – Excellent
4 – Very Good
3 – Good
2 – Tolerable
1 – Terrible
‘Exes Baggage‘ is now showing in cinemas nationwide