Fresh from the success of her last film, “Kasal,” Bea Alonzo returns to the big screen in Paul Soriano’s romance drama “First Love.” The film, which also stars Aga Muhlach, is a co-production between Star Cinema, TEN17P and Viva Films.
In “First Love,” we follow the story of Nick and Ali. Two strangers who met in one, unexpected day that will change their lives forever. Nick is a calculated and reserved businessman. He assesses everything, not willing to take risks right away. Ali is his direct opposite. She is impulsive and optimistic, a girl who believes in destiny and carpe dieming.
Despite having very different personalities, Nick gets attracted to her cheerful and hopeful spirit, despite her suffering from a congenital heart disease and still waiting to be selected for a heart transplant. Soon, the two of them become each other’s inspiration to live life to the fullest, like it’s their last day on this Earth.
It’s a story we’ve heard so many times before. A pair of doomed lovers who fall victim to fate’s playful ways. It’s very familiar that right from the get-go, you already have an idea on what’s about to happen. The twist is already displayed right in front of you with all the foreshadowing and hints. It’s obvious that they’re trying to pull off some kind of “The Fault In Our Stars” trick.
To add it up, Nick and Ali’s characters felt like your typical romance characters taken right out of the playbook. To its credit, the screenplay was able to give a bit of color and life to its characters. The writing managed to make these characters believable enough to be actual people stuck in this unfortunate situation.
Bea Alonzo and Aga Muhlach play Ali and Nick with so much passion and commitment that despite being clichéd, you’ll end up rooting for both of their characters. Both of them shine in their roles. The only problem was that there isn’t much chemistry between them. Star Cinema is known for shuffling its stars and partnering them in different movies. Sometimes, they end up discovering a goldmine with such pairings. But this time, their magic didn’t work.
Bea and Aga don’t really work together as lovers, but more like two people finding solace and inspiration with one another. Instead, what stood out was Ali and Nick’s relationship with the people around them. There’s something unique and fresh with Nick’s relationship with Simon (in a surprisingly good performance by Edward Barber) that I wished they have explored more. Ali’s moments with her family, especially with her mother (played by Sandy Andolong) were the most heartfelt ones.
What it lacked in substance, the film compensates with style. “First Love” is undeniably the most visually stunning local film this year. Paul Soriano has great eye for detail, and it is evident with every frame. Every scene was a feast for the eyes. Every moment, as millennials call it, was instagrammable. The music was also perfect, giving a rustic and soothing vibe and tone to the film.
I really wanted to like “First Love” because I love its leads. Unfortunately, there’s just no spark between them that watching them act as lovers becomes too strenuous to bear. The film maybe the most gorgeous local film we’ve seen all year long, but its stunning visuals are just not enough.
RATING: 2/ 5