There is Love down under

Love Me Again has taken two steps forward in telling a love story. It strays from the formula of most romantic films and in effect shunning the usual boy meets girl premise. The two characters have an established background. They were previous lovers who have not seen each other for years. Suddenly, they meet again which leads us to assume that there is really another possible romantic affair.

The starting sequence of the film shows the green fields of Bukidnon. Then, the two characters are having a horse race going atop the hill. Migo (Piolo Pascual) wants to win back Arah’s (Angel Locsin) love and trust. He does this through sugar-encrusted lines said to Arah, overtly trite love gestures, horse race bets, bull riding and even joining the famous calf roping during the Kaamulan Rodeo Festival. During the festivities, Migo’s team-up with Arah’s father (Ricky Davao) won them the Rodeo competition. Suddenly, Arah’s father got gored by one of the calves. The worried Arah desperately needs money. She gets an offer from his uncle’s (Ronnie Lazaro) boss Brian (Brent Metken), an Australian rancher to join them to work abroad. Migo gives financial support to Arah for her not to go. But Arah has already made her decision.

It sounds like a love that will conquer any barrier and distance. And yes, it is. I am aware to whom this film is made. As I have said, the film has made some alterations with the romantic formula. Obviously, they cannot further make flamboyant and wild experimentations to make this a work of a superior caliber. It has a market to please in that once it has achieved the audience satisfaction, it could be adequate to make this film just passable, the financial returns is an expectation. I don’t want to be explicit on this but for now, I have to say that mainstream films balances the gifts they have in hand and offers compensation to most viewers. Love Me Again has been written by Jewel Castro and Arah Jell Badayos with careful intonation. The conflict of the story is of course well regarded on how they made it more natural.

Arah’s character has high hopes for a future love with Migo. But then, it is shattered by the accident. She works in a ranch in Australia and after a while, she was offered by Brian to get married. Arah is good in Mathematics which I think got Brian’s interest to have her as a partner. She stopped doing physical work and instead she does the Bookkeeping. Until after two years, Migo appeared in the ranch hoping for work and to get Arah back.

Both actors are convincing as a love pair. They are candid most of the times and I know most of the viewers had a great time seeing these two stars riding in horses and chasing calves. It is risky in a way and I admire both Pascual and Locsin in having the courage in doing most of the stunts. Also, I can sense that Pascual has really the potency to be very accessible as an actor. He is so easy to be paired with anyone and that is quite a talent because that is the essence of making the story more convincing. His character as Migo has lots of weakness and much of it has ruined the opportunity to have Arah’s trust back. Although he gets to do one thing that is right and sensible. He opted not to sell part of the ranch. There is a hope for something to go back for.

Rory Quintos has a certain feel of what love is all about which is why she gets to direct a film with more bluntness towards this kind of emotion. It is a risk in itself. But the director and the writers have balanced this through the timely progress of their love which even took more than two years until Pascual’s character even went far to Australia. The sight of small scale festivals in the province and working abroad is believable as a backdrop. Although I have noticed that the horse scenes of the two stars could be more polished. Their efforts must be seen since it is hard doing all of that stuff. The camera works appears to be dull and listless. Innovation with the camera techniques might help these scenes look more forceful and engaging.

Arah’s father once said to Migo that Bukidnon during his times had a flourishing Cowboy livelihood. At present, the refusal for change is not anymore practical. It is part of the metaphor of love, the refusal to yield once the passion has set, as seen in Migo’s refusal to move on despite the realities of a pragmatist’s world. There are opportunities given at every point in our life. And with those prospects, we have to deal with it with practicality. Love Me Again in relative terms is a film that could be enjoyed by most audiences. In recent times, the Filipino Film Industry is still struggling. Love Me Again could be sufficient for now. It has a logical conflict and even if the ending is a bit contrived, even the intelligent ones cannot argue as love is not perhaps greater but is independent of logic. It is the person’s choice whether to use logic and practicality in love or to dive head-on without the knowledge of depth.

Charlie Koon's Rating:

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