Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Breakup Playlist


Gino (Piolo Pascual) and Trixie (Sarah Geronimo) argue in his car en route to a musical gig. She says she’s had enough. She tells him she is quitting their band. He says he’s had enough. He tells her to get out of his life. And so their relationship ends on a sour note, with no signs of reconciliation. It is not until years later, when a popular loveteam taps the duo as their favorite musicians for a reunion concert, that the two get the chance to meet again. He is wishing for a second chance, but she wants nothing to do with him anymore. Animosity proves to be more prevalent than hope, causing unwanted conflicts in their daily rehearsals. With pressure from their producers, the ex-lovers strive to get along for the sake of professionalism. Is one song enough to fix what has long been deemed as broken?

If anything, it proves that music plays a very large role in our lives. A song could summarize how your day has been. An album could accompany you while dealing with heartbreak. Music represents the soul of one’s society, and it could serve as a force that unites us based on the personal experiences that we do not necessarily share, yet hinted upon by the lyrics of a popular song as if it was a communal experience. In short, music is universal, and this is why the film succeeds because it capitalizes on that.

It is quite funny hearing Pascual lecture Geronimo on which note is flat and which is not, but it is easy to just play along. Set in the world of music, jamming sessions are plenty and the good thing about it is they are not disappointing. Sure, they could have found another actor who could match Geronimo’s vocal prowess, but Pascual is just fine. Whatever his vocal cords lack is saved by his acting, which has always been his strongest suit. It is also good to see Geronimo graduate from teenybopper roles and slowly but surely transition to more mature ones. Her singing makes up for her acting, which is why the two of them are a perfect match.

The form might have changed but the content is still the same. This is still one of Star Cinema’s predictable love stories, and you do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how everything would turn out. But at least you get to appreciate the attempt to be unique. They opted for a non-linear plot, which is effectively utilized by not revealing all the details at once, but rather bit by bit. You start with the breakup, but you do not really know the specifics, the why’s, the how’s.

What happens is some sort of a deconstruction of the love story between two musicians, jumping from time to time from when they first meet until the very conclusion of the reunion concert in question. By placing the climax of the story at the very beginning, curiosity strikes and results in you being more invested to the characters and the story, as opposed to seeing the plot unfold in a linear manner and just waiting for the predictable pieces to fall into place.

Well, we could say that this is a breath of fresh air, at least for Star Cinema. Almost all of their romantic comedies have subscribed to a predictable template for the last five years or so. This film is not at all different, but at least it attacks the tired genre with an attempt on a fresh approach, which incorporates music to give us a new take on the same old plot. It is hard to hate this movie, and maybe the musical component is to thank for that.

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