Tadhana is fate in English. Tadhana is a possible scapegoat for single-blessedness of several people. Tadhana will be cursed by those who have no romantic dates on February 14. Tadhana, be prepared.
“That Thing Called Tadhana” is a romantic comedy film about a brokenhearted woman who tries to move on from a just-ended-eight-year relationship with the help of a stranger she meets at an airport in Rome, Italy. Angelica Panganiban is Mace, the outspoken protagonist who decides to travel to Baguio just hours after she landed in Manila. JM de Guzman is Anthony, the guy whom Mace meets at the airport, helps her in solving her problem with excess baggage (mostly thongs and sexy clothes) and accompanies her on her journey to Baguio, then to Sagada and hopefully, on the road to romantic recovery.
“Para sa mga umibig, nasaktan, at umibig muli. You know, tatanga-tanga” (for those who loved, got hurt, and loved again. You know, those who act like fools). These two sentences succinctly summarize the movie in 12 11 words.
This movie is not for those with short attention span because it is full of conversation—some lines are funny, some are kinda profound, but most will appeal to any person with a beating heart. They mention F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “there are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice”. The audience said, “ohhhhh” like it was Oprah’s light bulb moment. Some lines are on the verge of being cheesy but every romcom film needs cheesy lines to be real and relatable. These cheesy lines make movies memorable and popular among the lovestruck and stand-up comedians long after the audience watched them.
Panganiban is perfect as Mace, she can be loud and confident one moment then appear vulnerable and insecure the next without batting an eyelash. De Guzman is a revelation as a leading man. He keeps up with Panganiban as the go-with-the-flow guy but with sad stories to tell. He is like the younger John Lloyd Cruz, relatable and achievable, mata pa lang niya ulam na (roughly means his eye contact is enough to drive a person crazy). When his Anthony looks at Mace, my heart melts like butter in a hot skillet. 🙂 The scene in Sagada where he is trying to place his arm over Mace’s shoulder is cute and heartwarming. Right then and there I wanted to go to Sagada and find my own Anthony. I wanted to say “awwwww” or “akin ka na lang” (be mine).
I thought I would not see the day when mainstream Filipino films feature characters that I can count on the fingers of one hand, but this film proves me wrong. Not only does it have only two characters (three if I count the less than 60-second appearance of Mace’s ex-boyfriend), but it also succeeds in making the movie compelling. It helps that the characters are not one-dimensional, and the storytelling affords the audience to be voyeurs in the struggles of the hearts of Mace and Anthony. It is like listening to my friends talk–always peppered with philosophical quotes, a couple of curses thrown in here and there, with a dash of existential crisis that may or may not end with an emotional meltdown that may or may not lead to that Eureka moment that involves a lot of holy $h!7s! Parang nakikitsismis lang. The audience live vicariously through them as they, especially Mace, slowly gain their confidence back in finding love again.
The poster of the movie asks, “where do broken hearts go nga ba talaga, tita Whitney (Houston)?”. Mace wants to sing this song in videoke (or an Aegis song) and get a perfect score because she is at a loss, she lost her true North when she found out her long-time boyfriend replaced her with someone else. Mace travels to Baguio to mend her shattered heart. Anthony went to Sagada (years ago) to fix his. So where do broken hearts go nga ba? Maybe they meet their pointy arrows who live pointy lives, and they live happily ever after. Or maybe (heartbroken or not) they go to Gelatissimo to get their free scoop of gelato right after the film. 🙂 Okay, I just want to share these photos, and I cannot segue my way to this part rather smoothly. Hahaha.