Actors: JC Santos, Janine Gutierrez, Lotlot de Leon, Yesh Burce, Victor Anastacio, Shyr Valdez
Genre: Romance, Drama
Premise: An online interaction between two strangers marks the beginning of a developing romance, which has the pandemic and its awful restrictions, to hurdle. Will it survive when taken offline?
Watch it on: KTX.PH, iWantTFC, Upstream.PH, Ticket2Me
Why You Should See It:
Dito at Doon sheds light upon various socio-political topics while allowing a hopeful love story to thrive against a relatable backdrop
Dito at Doon feels it has to be so, largely because of its backdrop. Lately, films and series (especially, series) have been taking the current pandemic as a convenient setting to tell stories, and while some of them make solid arguments about how the crisis affect people’s lives, not too many are brave enough to comment on the socio-political factors that turn it into a practically insurmountable challenge. Dito at Doon seems to be yet another stellar demonstration of how production houses make instant scripts from this pandemic, but unlike many of its predecessors, the film dives into the deeper layers of its themes, to make its bid to turn stories from this crisis, more affecting.
The movie has two equally attractive and talented stars, a timely narrative most audiences can relate to, and JP Habac, who was at the helm of recent contemporary romances—the latest of which is the 2020 boys’ love hit, Gaya Sa Pelikula, although most people may most likely affiliate him with the Maja Salvador and Paulo Avelino-starrer, I’m Drunk, I Love You.
In Dito at Doon, Len Esguerra (Janine Gutierrez) is a graduate student who gets stuck and bored at home, after the sudden imposition of the quarantine. She now has the time to browse social media and exercise her “woke” -ness by commenting on posts and making statuses that criticize how the pandemic is being handled by the government and government leaders. She crosses paths one day, with the delivery rider, Carlo Cabahug (JC Santos), with whom she had a heated argument over regulations that mandate citizens to stay-at-home. It turns out Carlo is friends with her best friends—played by Yesh Bruce and Victor Anastacio—whom she will have an “e-numan” with, the same night. Through her friends, Len inadvertently creates a connection with Cabs, which only gets deeper with their every online chat, call, even their almost physical meet-ups.
Pairing up for the first time, Gutierrez and Santos, try to work out their chemistry in a story that could potentially say more about a lot of other things than their budding romance. To the couple’s credit, however, and to Habac’s masterful framing of characters to make them appear as if they are in the same room—even though they are not—the love story Len and Cabs share remains and ends up as the film’s most important asset, even until its powerful, poignant ending.
Because this a pandemic-restricted film, Dito at Doon does not have handsome photography to provide Len and Carlo a romantic backdrop. The film, however, takes Gutierrez and Santos, and the beautiful portrait they create when they are in the same frame, together, as a lovely compensation. While the film remains a potent love story, it can also be best remembered for key moments where characters and scenes deliberately take a swipe at the mishandlers of this crisis.
There is this moment when Len’s mom’s plights as a medical frontliner is brought to attention, as well as Caloy’s struggles as a rider who has to confront the risks of getting infected, every day. In one scene, Len laments about her mom being forced to take her co-worker’s shifts, due to lack of manpower.
There are many moments Dito at Doon mirrors how we navigate our lives during this pandemic, how spaces become barriers in our understanding of our own situations, and other people’s situations, too. It exposes facets of relationships, and how some are simply transient, albeit genuine at one point. The film turns into a compelling metaphor that reflects both our differences in perspectives, and the relationships we make at one place, but may not survive at another.
5 – Excellent
4 – Very Good
3 – Good
2 – Tolerable
1 – Terrible
Dito at Doon now streams on KTX, iWantTFC, [email protected], and Ticket2Me. Watch the official trailer below: