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‘Alone/Together’ MOVIE REVIEW: Beautifully articulated Tale of a Hopeful Romance

Antoinette Jadaone’s new film, ‘Alone/Together’, is liberal; its haunting illustration of a highly vulnerable love affair, tried under the curbs of time and personal differences.

There is a consummate lens through which the film’s themes are dissected. The idea of people striving to make their romance work amid their individual pursuit of their respective dreams and wants, is treated with a grounded sensibility that gives Alone/Togethera distinctive character, cognizant of its need to be more than the conventions from its mainstream contemporaries that tend to fully embrace.

I have to say the film still conforms with the traditional Star Cinema formula.
I am aware that its producer, Blacksheep, is one the film company’s efforts to meet the demands of the so-called ‘millennial market’ for more unconventional contents, whose themes must veer away from the usual romcoms and family dramas. With this film, Blacksheep does not entirely abandon those usual thematic motifs, but it is really commendable how evident their efforts are, to serve the audience with something new.
There are subtle touches on socio-political themes that were integrated in the central plot, but still did not leave an impression of being forced nor obliged.

In “Alone/Together” Antoinette Jadaone crafts a beautifully articulated tale of two young people desperately trying to redeem themselves from the ruins of their personal disasters; those disasters, being the ones confronted in the wake of their choices to chase their dreams, amid the risk of throwing what could have bloomed into a beautiful love story, to tear asunder.

Jadaone’s scheme is worked out by wandering across the different timelines within the entire duration of the film.

She first presents, Tin (Liza Soberano), right at the opening frames, as a high-spirited UP freshman, who believes she can change the world. Her ‘kilig’-infused correspondences with Raf (Enrique Gil), a medical student from UST, is immediately introduced. Fast forward to five years later, an abrupt shift between tones is observed. There is a gloomier atmosphere under which their characters are made to play, and the poignancy it creates, is cogent enough to rend hearts apart.

Nevertheless, ‘Alone/Together’ doesn’t seem squarely designed to just rip hearts apart, as its motivations look more visceral and beyond superficial. Jadaone manages to lend sensibility to her narrative by constructing three dimensional characters that are not deprived of power and form.

Tin, being essentially the heart of the story, is eloquently conveyed by Soberano’s impeccable, maneuver. Tin, on the surface, is a passionate, strong-willed woman, only embittered by unfortunate circumstances, but on the inside she lives another character that faces far greater battles than her outer self can ever project. There are a lot of beautiful things to say about how Soberano convincingly navigated through the many but tight nuances of Tin, but she is more remarkably compelling with her almost faultless portrayal of a woman on the verge of losing herself again to the same storms that brought chaos in her life, over and over again. And this isn’t the Liza Soberano we are used to seeing.

Interestingly, while Jadaone adequately pulled off a deceitful design (through promotional materials) to lure fans into thinking this is going to be a ‘strictly’ LizQuen movie–because it isn’t, trust me–the way she peels the romance between Tin and Raf in the actual film, is sweet and bemused enough, to create the much needed sense of kilig.

This choice make the proceedings swell from sweetly affectionate to heart-shatteringly moving, to inspiringly hopeful, in the closing frames.

Arguably, this film can be easily dismissed as a Liza Soberano film, as it focuses on nearly only about the struggles and realisations of Tin towards redeeming herself. But being so, to the film’s credit, actually gives the narrative a more solid and well-substantiated form. That never really disables Enrique and Liza from turning their characters more appealingly human. And if anything, it only enforces their being sufficiently flawed to adopt a more grounded design to which the audience can easily find a more tangible connection.

Also impressively, Jadaone maximizes setting to animate all possible players within her story. In the film, she makes the vivid cultural themes of UP Diliman, a separate element that draws attention the same way its human counterparts do.

The last few moments of the film point the story to a more hopeful direction. It leaves a bracing reminder of the paths it had gone through: dreams, passion, love, decisions, survival…everything in between.

Alone/Together, in the end, may not strike as a fully-realised practice, in terms of what it aspires to become, but it still delivers something remarkably beautiful.

5 – Excellent
4 – Very Good
3 – Good
2 – Tolerable
1 – Terrible

‘Alone/Together’ is now showing in cinemas nationwide

Watch the official trailer below:


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