*This entry may contain spoilers.
I thought that Crazy Beautiful You, the post-Valentine offering of Star Cinema, is just one of those run-of-the-mill teenybopper films. Of course, I am wrong and this mistake is the reason why I am writing this entry. Crazy Beautiful You stars reigning Teen Queen and King of Philippine movies, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, and it is directed by Mae Czarina Cruz-Alviar.
The film opens with a drag racing scene where Marcus played by Iñigo Pascual sees Jackie (Bernardo) and instantly falls for her captivating beauty. This boy-almost-meets-girl scene is in slow motion. The girl flips her hair and struts like the queen of the world while people around her kowtow as she walks by. Jackie is the spoiled rich girl who is misbehaving because she feels alone and deserted so the most logical way to show this is to drive a car at top speed. Unfortunately, Jackie gets into a minor accident and gets some jail time. As a punishment for her reckless behavior, her separated parents played by Lorna Tolentino and Dante Ponce decide that it is best to take her to a medical mission in Tarlac.
Jackie tries to escape while travelling to Tarlac and meets the adorable Kiko (Padilla), the bastard son of the town mayor (played by Gabby Concepcion). While Jackie is calling someone on her expensive mobile phone, someone snatched it from her. Luckily, Kiko is there to play the Prince Charming to our reluctant damsel in distress. The second slow motion scene happens here because well, boy meets girl. I find the widening of the eyes of Bernardo to show utter surprise very genuine and the action scene to be entertaining. Unbeknownst to Jackie, her mom tells Kiko to pick her up. He really picks her up, in the truest sense of the word, as he manhandles her tiny frame to enter the hotel where her mother is billeted.
Before leaving for the medical mission, Kiko is tasked to make Jackie a better person so he can get a position in his father’s office. Jackie makes a deal with her mother to finish the medical mission so she can study in New York with her mother shouldering the financial expenses.
Kiko and Jackie spend one week in Tarukan, Tarlac, a village with no electricity, no running water and no phone signal! Poor Jackie cannot update her online followers on her latest miseries! The horrors! This is where the fun truly begins. As Jackie struggles to adjust to the simple life of the Aetas, Kiko is in his element. As an all-around helper of the mayor and the main caretaker of his three younger siblings, he is used to sleeping on bamboo floors, drawing water for bathing and bathing in this cold water without causing so much raucous. Not Jackie.
After a handful of I-hate-your-guts scenes, Jackie and Kiko start to see the good in each other. This is where the movie ups the ante and moves from being a simple teen movie to something more. It gently but effectively tackles the complicated family problems of Jackie and later on, of Kiko. It is revealed that Jackie is not a rebel without a cause. She has deep-rooted angst that takes its climax in an emotional confrontation with her mother. This scene is the highlight for Bernardo as she delivers a convincing performance opposite one of the respected actresses in the country.
From that day forward, Jackie is a changed woman. Smile finds its way on her face and she starts to notice and care for people around her, especially Sheena and Jennifer, the orphans who sleep with her. At this point, kilig scenes appear one after the other. Jackie and Kiko visit the crater of Mount Pinatubo, Kiko hugs Jackie and Jackie lets him, Kiko playfully lifts her and she permits him, among other things. Most of the people inside the cinema start screaming and shrieking, and I am one of them. Haha.
Before the end of the medical mission, Murphy’s Law rears its ugly head in the form of Kiko’s half-brother, Marcus. Yes, the same guy who caused the first slow motion scene I mentioned above. He is the superfluous third wheel in this well-oiled machine called the Padilla and Bernardo loveteam. Marcus arrives in Tarukan bearing gifts—a cartful of donations from daddy dearest. He also arrives with the hope that Jackie will like him back. But she already likes Kiko so conflict between the close brothers arises. This is where the best part of the movie starts. As Kiko’s problems come to light, Kiko transforms from an easy-going man-child to a grown-up with forgiving heart and endless patience. Padilla shows vulnerability as Kiko and his crying scenes seem heartfelt – tagos sa puso.
Padilla delivers his best acting moments in two scenes. The first one happens when he addresses his father, “minsan ipagtanggol ninyo naman ako. Anak niyo rin ako” (sometimes you also take my side. I am also your son.) This occurs after he and Marcus have an argument and Marcus’ mother accused Kiko of being selfish and their father just remained quiet. I feel you, Kiko. The second one comes just a few moments after the first. Kiko is extremely depressed and his mother arrives after a night out with her lover and asks him to wash her clothes and prepare her breakfast oblivious that Kiko is crying silently. After several seconds, his mother sees him crying and she cannot believe what is happening. Kiko, the seemingly invincible rock of the family, is disintegrating before her eyes. He says, “kailangan ko lang ng nanay ngayon” (I just need a mother now). Then Kiko’s virtually absent mother hugs her. Only a heartless person will not be moved by this scene.
Crazy Beautiful You anchors on the popularity of Kathniel as a loveteam but it is not just another teen movie. It offers more than kilig moments as it also tackles the more serious issue of coming from a broken family and how it shapes the minds and hearts of the people involved. It is also about unconditional love for family, not giving up on a romantic partner whom you think is THE ONE, and above all, it is about loving oneself. I entered the theater as an ambivalent moviegoer and when I came out I had a better understanding why Kathniel has a huge fanbase.
For another Kathniel entry, please read Barcelona: A Love Untold.
1. How can a town mayor afford to send his children abroad for college education? Was Mayor Ito an heredero (heir) or a successful businessman before he entered politics? Or is this a look at the prevalent corruption in the country?
2. I like the scenes where Jackie took photos of the Aetas, and they smiled like they have never smiled before. According to the movie, Aetas have no family photos because they are considered luxurious items. I wholeheartedly agree with this, who needs a photo if you have no running water? Afterwards, she returned to the village with the framed photographs. Major awwwww moment.
3. Sheena and Jennifer are too cute for words. They have simpleng hirits that pack a lot of punch. One of my favorite scenes shows the girls with Kiko, they are sitting on a hill (?) overlooking a beautiful landscape but they look like they are mourning. One of the girls is holding a photograph Jackie gave them.