Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Project 52 2014 (11/52): Starting Over Again

.:Project 52 2014 (11/52):Starting Over Again:.

Starting Over Again
Hey, look! A Project 52 entry and a film review!

Need I say it? SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

And when I hold you in my arms, I promise you...

So I asked a new friend to catch a movie, seeing as I haven't been to the cinemas in ages, and lo and behold, she suggested that we watch "Starting Over Again," despite the fact that she's already seen it thrice before.

I can see why she caught it thrice.

"Starting Over Again" is a tale of love lost and a chance to regain it, initially framed around the conceit of a fictional website, LetterLater.com, which is based on a real one. With LetterLater, you get to send an email to someone at a scheduled time. Five years after their breakup, Ginny (Toni Gonzaga) receives an email from Marco (Piolo Pascual), asking if there's still room for a second chance.

The problem was, in the five years that have elapsed, Ginny and Marco have been as far apart as can be. Ginny starts hoping, and even reminiscing about the past that they had.

You're gonna feel a love that's beautiful and new...

Next thing she knew, Marco came back into her life, asking her to convert his ancestral home into a restaurant. Marco, from being her teacher in college, ended up becoming a chef: a dream he pursued and finally succeeded in, after so many failures. Was this the sign she was looking for? It seemed to be that way, until in came Patty (Iza Calzado), Marco's fiancee.

As the days went by, it was clear that Ginny saw things that simply weren't there. She deluded herself into finding signs that didn't exist, all brought about by a letter written five years before, working her way back into her life, just as Marco himself did the same. Where was this headed?

This time I'll love you even better than I ever did before...

As her hare-brained scheme to get back with Marco got crazier and crazier, Ginny started being completely disconnected with the reality: Patty was still in the picture. And at her most brazen and most selfish, she ended up almost stealing Marco right back, and even begged Patty to let him go. It was rather uncharacteristic of a Star Cinema film to make their protagonist almost downright unsympathetic, but they went there.

After a mishap, things come to a head. Why did they part ways five years before, to begin with? Why did Ginny choose to turn her back on Marco? Why did Marco move on? The reasons, piece by piece, slowly fell into place.

And you'll be in my heart, forevermore...

In what was the most satisfying ending after what was nearly a moral horizon crossing for Ginny, she realized that "starting over again" doesn't necessarily mean they have to be lovers again. Neither do they need to ever unlove each other.

That's how real life works, really. Patty said it best: their love may be boring and quiet, but it is sure. Sometimes, it isn't the whiz-bang gestures in life, but simply the fact that true love is there. Quiet. Strong. Constant. Not even the biggest gestures could sway what is real, and Ginny had to learn that. There was a reason Marco came back into her life: she needed to learn how to love and let go at the same time. For her own sake.

And now we're starting over again it's not the easiest thing to do...

I loved this movie, and I have to admit that I hold it in about as high regard as I hold "One More Chance," which is high praise. Piolo and Toni had an amazing kind of chemistry, and Iza Calzado more than held her own as a solid foil to Toni, making you see that no matter how much you might want to root for Ginny and Marco to get their second chance, Patty deserved her first just as much.

It's a movie about losing love and regaining it, only to realize that it doesn't mean the same thing anymore. And that? That's not a bad thing at all.

I'm feeling inside again, 'cause every time I looked at you...

If there's one thing I can't help but appreciate about the film, it's the fact that it takes the concept of the "one great love" and makes you understand that this one great love, no matter how powerful and all-encompassing, is never a guarantee. Sometimes, we tarry and look for the big gestures and the amazing grand moments that we end up completely forgetting that life isn't made up of one big gesture after another.

The plateaus of life make up far, far more than the highs and the lows. If you can't see that, and if you end up feeling compelled to always chase after the highs, then you really can never know for sure if that can keep going forever. It probably won't.

I know we're starting over again, this time we'll leave all the pain away...

Moving on doesn't mean leaving each other. Moving on doesn't mean forgetting everything. And starting over again sure as Hades doesn't mean going back to the same old story, as if neither of you learned the lessons from the past. In real life, there is no true redo, because we learned something. Thankfully, that is one advantage we have that Joel and Clem in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" never had: now we know better. Now we know not to make the same mistakes again.

After all, isn't it true that we can never keep laughing at the same joke, no matter how good it is? So why should we keep crying over the same tragedy, no matter how horrible it is?

Welcome home, my lover and friend. We are starting over, over again.

"Fun" Evaluation: A+ (Fun, heartwarming, and even tear-inducing. This movie had it all.)
"Critical" Evaluation: A+ (Stellar acting, stellar cast, and a storyline that cuts so close to home it hurts - in a good kind of way.)

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