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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 4, 2015

Review: 'You're Still The One' - Maja, Dennis Give Charming, Winning Performances

'YOU'RE STILL THE ONE' is not a sequel to the Toni Gonzaga-Sam Milby flick "You are the One"(2006) and it's not a remake of the Koreanovela of the same title shown on ABS-CBN in 2013. Written by Aloy Adlawan and helmed by Chris Martinez, it's a love story of two people who took years and years before finally realizing that they are really meant for each other.

This is not new in cinema as even Nora-Tirso, Vilma-Boyet have made movies of this sort. But the best take for us is that of writer-director Joey Reyes starring Sharon Cuneta and Aga Muhlach in "Kung Ako na Lang Sana" (2003).

In "You're Still", the protagonists are Dennis Trillo as Jojo and Maja Salvador as Elise. We first see them fighting each other in a school debate in 1999, with Dennis winning. They end up having a one-night stand after it rained and floods prevented them from going home. Maja makes it clear she is not interested in a relationship as she wants to finish law first.

Years later, she has passed the bar, calls up Dennis, only to discover that he's about to wed Raquel (Ellen Adarna), who he got pregnant. As may be expected, the marriage doesn't work and Dennis gets back to Maja, but by then, she's already in the arms of a married fiscal (Richard Yap).

To cut it short, it's always a case of wrong timing for the young lovers. But still and all, you know the title means the right time will surely come and they'll still end up with each other. And so they do. One night, all the planets align properly and they meet again by chance after lighting candles in Baclaran church in 2014. As in other romantic flicks, this one ends with a wedding scene.

The movie succeeds mainly because the actors give very charming, winning performances. They somehow make us care for the characters they play, especially Maja who is so effortless in her portrayal of Elise, a religious girl who walks on her knees in church but is actually liberated as she hops into bed willingly with a guy she fancies and can even be the more aggressive partner. But she's basically a good person as she handles pro bono cases for poor clients. One thing about Maja is she doesn't resort into hysterics. even her delivery of important lines can be understated but still full of impact. Dennis comes up as a very human character who is in love with Maja but is not strong enough to resist temptations that come along his way.
Maja and Dennis get good support from Zsa Zsa Padilla as Dennis' ailing mom who goes blind due to diabetes, Snooky Serna as Maja's mom who migrates abroad and gets abandoned by her husband for another woman, and Ellen Adarna as Dennis' wife who's very good in that scene where she breaks down as she confides to Maja that she knows Dennis does not really love her. Richard Yap plays a role here so different from his sweet wholesome image in "Be Careful with My Heart". It's more of a character role as he appears more like a contravida, seducing Maja even if he's already married to Ina Raymundo. We don't think his loyal fans will appreciate it.

Compared to the usual fluffy but empty rom-coms we're now getting most of the time, this one is more mature in its approach and doesn't just pander to the gallery by coming up with the usual pa-cute scenes. The bed scenes are even handled with care and not gratuitous. But we just wish that the filmmakers somehow made it more grounded in reality.

The story runs from 1999 to 2014, a total of 15 years, but not once did you feel that it's happening realistically in the contest of our recent history. There isn't even a passing mention about the vicissitudes that happened in our country, like Erap Estrada being ousted from Malacanang in 2001 or FPJ running for office and Gloria cheating him. You know, things like that which will make the movie more rooted in reality.