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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.

Jul 11, 2015

The Breakup Playlist Review - The Best Romantic Movie From Star Cinema In A Long Long Time

'THE BREAKUP PLAYLIST' is the best romantic story that Star Cinema has come up with in a long, long time. It's not their usual predictable romcom that follows their now familiar saccharine formula. Here, the story is so very simple. It starts with the on screen lovers, Gino and Trixie, breaking up. You know that they will still end up with each other, but it's in the telling of how they get there that the movie differs. No manipulative melodramatic and overly engineered turns of plot, no sappy moments in the rain, no big ostentatious ending where they reconcile in public and the people applaud.

This is because Director Dan Villegas has come up with a fairly engrossing bittersweet narrative, thanks to the script of his real life squeeze, Antoinette Jadaone. With their tandem, Star Cinema has found new filmmakers that veer away from their erstwhile hackneyed and already tiresome formulas. The film's structure is non-linear, told in chapters, going back and forth from the past to the present, and manages to hold our interest. It's definitely even better than Villegas' award-winnning "English Only, Please". We particularly like the nod to "Casablanca", "We'll always have Paris", but it's lost to most local viewers.

Trixie and Gino meet in a music camp where Gino is a mentor who notices how good Trixie is and offers her to join the band he's organizing, Pencil Grip. Trixie defies her mom's wish for her to finish law school and joins Gino's band. As may be expected, they fall in love. Trixie is well liked by everyone and quickly excels in her career. Gino's insecurities slowly tear them apart. Gino dumps Trixie and she feels so devastated. Three years later, they are offered to reunite in a concert to help a teen love team. Will they be able to pick up the pieces of their interrupted melody for a second chance on love? You betcha.

Of course, we also have to thank its lead stars who are both outstanding as the main protagonists. Piolo Pascual and Sarah Geronimo play singers-musicians and they are both very believable. Their chemistry is quite charming, you won't even notice the more than ten-year difference in their ages. Piolo's singing has really improved a lot. And he's so convincingly pitiful in that scene where he swallows his pride and humbly asks for Sarah's forgiveness.

Sarah's emoting as the heartbroken Trixie is now also more intense, with palpable pain etched all over her particularly in that scene where she says "Pinatay mo lang ako. Huwag mo na kong patayin ulit." As a singer, of course, she always delivers. And they get excellent support from most of the supporting cast, particularly Jett Pangan as their band's manager.

Then there's the songs used in the movie, which really help forward the story, from "With a Smile", "Wag na Wag Mong Sasabihin" to "Nagsimula sa Puso", "Patawad" and of course, its main love theme, "Paano Ba ang Magmahal?", which was first used in the teleserye "Beautiful Affair" of John Lloyd-Bea. The songs help hold the film together and the two leads no doubt play beautiful music together on screen.

As a whole, it's really worth watching. Although there are some questions raised that are left unanswered. What happened to Trixie's relatives with whom they are shown staying with at the start of the movie? No mention of them whatsoever later. And why did Gino's friends from abroad send him a big amount through his bank? Oh, but we know the answer to that one. So they can have a product placement for the bank that Piolo is endorsing, which is really given a very prominent exposure in one scene.