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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.

Feb 21, 2018

The Significant Other Movie Review: A Stylishly Told Tale Of Marital Infidelity With Sizzling Bed Scenes And Explosive Dramatic Confrontations And Slapping Scenes

LOVE TRIANGLE movies about marital infidelity have always a been favorite genre for local filmgoers since the time of “Sapagkat Kami’y Tao Lamang” that launched the formidable triumvirate of Lolita Rodriguez, Eddie Rodriguez and Marlene Dauden, who did countless other similar films.

This movie was later revived starring Christopher de Leon, Alma Moreno and Lorna Tolentino. There are several variations through the years, like “My Other Woman’’, “Relasyon”, “Gaano Kadalas ang Minsan”, “Palimos ng Pag-ibig”, “Minsan Lang Kitang Iibigin”, “Ikaw at ang Gabi”, and the more recent “No Other Woman” and “A Secret Affair”.

The latest reincarnation is “The Significant Other”, directed by Joel Lamangan and scripted by Eric Ramos and Jerry Gracio. The narrative structure is very intriguing as it opens with that much ballyhooed scene where Lovi and Erich are sashaying on the ramp during a fashion show, then Tom comes along and the scene ends with them both kissing him then slapping each other. This got much publicity mileage after they really hurt one another during the shoot.

From there, how the story started is retold in flashbacks, first from the point of view of Erich who doesn’t really know she’s just a kabit, then from that of Lovi as the unsuspecting wife. “The Significant Other” is produced by the new film company, Cineko Productions, and this is their best release so far. We hope it also becomes their biggest hit as they have yet to come up with a real blockbuster.

The film has all the makings of being a box office winner as it’s a true commercial crowd pleaser, complete with several dramatic confrontation scenes resulting from infidelity and slapping scenes that, we have to admit, majority of local viewers just don’t get tired of watching. The bed scenes of Tom (what a lucky guy) with both Lovi and Erich are also truly torrid and leave very little to the imagination since both ladies are very “palaban”.

The film is not only well directed with glossy production values (the cinematographer by Rain Yamzon is definitely a big plus) but very well acted by the entire ensemble cast. Erich Gonzales is convincing as Nicolodia, the provinciana who goes to Manila to try her luck as a model and falls in love with Tom Rodriguez, the cosmetic surgeon who removes her birthmark, without knowing he’s already married to Lovi Poe as Maxene.

Tom himself does pretty well as the husband who goes astray, especially in that scene where he is pleading to Lovi to forgive him for his philandering and save their marriage. But it’s Lovi who sizzles giving a finely textured performance in several scenes. In her role as a top model, she gets to parade in several glamorous outfits and also shines in various poignant drama scenes, particularly in that scene where she goes to her husband’s clinic unannounced and discovers him in bed with someone but didn’t have the guts to confront them right then and there.

It’s a long wordless scene and she’s shown just emoting with her face and whole body until she just walks away crying. She handles it all very convincingly and touchingly, including the succeeding scene where she cooks her husband’s favorite caldereta without revealing to him she already knows that he is being unfaithful. Another memorable scene is when she finds out that the mistress of her husband is no one else but the neophyte model who she’s generously helping in her aspirations to be a successful model.

They all get splendid help from a very competent supporting cast, headed by Snooky Serna as Erich’s poor mom, Dina Bonnevie as Lovi’s balikbayan mom, Bernardo Bernardo as the owner of the modeling agency (this is his last film before he found out he’s sick, let’s all pray for his healing), Afi Africa as Lovi and Erich’s manager, and Ricci Chan stealing his only scene as designer Avel Bacudio.

How the film is given a fairly pleasing conclusion where all the characters are shown converging in a photo exhibit in the final sequence is quite a stylish resolution for this dramatic flick that will leave viewers who prefer a positive ending very much satisfied.