The story of Deena (Angelica Panganiban) and Mariel (Bea Alonzo) is one that is familiar. Cinema has already shared countless tales of friendship tested by horrible experiences, terrible decisions, and seemingly unforgivable betrayals.
Unbreakable poses no ambition to adopt a new anthem as it actually embraces them to remind the audience of the beautiful moments we often forget when our friendships get confronted with devastating storms.
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In the new Star Cinema film, Deena and Mariel are the total opposites of each other; the latter as the achiever, the quiet and modest girl with big aspirations, who works hard to make them come true, the other, an easy-go-lucky type who often gets into trouble and has no sense of direction. Years of being together and having each other’s back forged their friendship into something seemingly unbreakable.
Seemingly. That’s the operative word. But even the most casual viewer won’t be surprised when things start falling apart. There are previous storms in their friendship that they both weathered with ease, but the next ones are more perilous and unforgiving; Deena loses her husband, Bene (Ian Veneracion), while Mariel loses her baby in a miscarriage.
Both desperately run to each other for refuge, and when one can’t provide the help the other requires, the aid of the wrong person is inevitably enlisted. To Deena who is just trying to recover from the pain caused by her husband’s demise, that wrong person is Justin (Richard Gutierrez), Mariel’s husband.
It’s difficult to enjoy a story with a terribly commonplace plot knowing what you’d see next won’t be anything you haven’t seen before. Deena and Mariel are screaming character templates that have been adapted multiple times in many movies in the past, and the narrative in which they operate are quite overused, too.
But despite these, Unbreakable remains enjoyable from its opening frames to its closing shot. There are moments of truth in the film, both beautiful and bitter, that undermines the predictability of the story. Both Alonzo and Panganiban plays their respective roles with incredible restraint, effectively handling the shift in their characters from the hilariously fun-filled moments they shared together to the tear-jerking tragedies that rip their friendship apart.
Bea Alonzo radiates with unbelievable dramatic eloquence. There is a scene where Mariel finally bares all her resentments to Deena, and she delivers it compellingly, beautifully articulating the pain brought by having been left out by a friend whom she thought would be the person she could run to for comfort and protection.
Panganiban similarly owns a scene with Richard Gutierrez where Deena had to pin the blame on Justin for her suffering, only to realize in the end that it was, after all, her own doing. Panganiban navigates that scene effortlessly, the way she throws her lines, utterly affecting.
Richard Gutierrez is also remarkable, having maneuvered through his role as Justin with commendable ease. Justin doesn’t have the emotional demands of Deena and Mariel, but he has moments of breakdown, too, and Gutierrez shines in those sequences. Director Mae Cruz-Alviar seemingly made sure her lead characters would have their respective defining moments in the film, and Richard’s is during the confrontation Justin shared with Deena.
‘Unbreakable‘ is a story of friendship, but it’s a lot more than that, too. It’s a lovely reminder that life is too short to live with regrets and hate, that we need each other to overcome pain, and that we’re only truly unbreakable when we know how to forgive.
5 – Excellent
4 – Very Good
3 – Good
2 – Tolerable
1 – Terrible
Now showing in cinemas nationwide, ‘Unbreakable’ also stars Gloria Diaz, Rosanna Roces, Joao Constancia, Anthony Jennings, and PJ Endrinal
Watch the trailer below: