That Thing Called Tadhana


For the past few weeks, everybody has been talking about the film dubbed as the "ultimate hugot movie of the year" - That Thing Called Tadhana, which starred Angelica Panganiban and JM De Guzman. The movie, directed by the talented Antoinette Jadaone, is clearly hitting a milestone in the history of Philippine cinema, as most (if not all) of the moviegoers who have seen it, already consider it as one of the best romantic Pinoy movies of all time. It is definitely winning the hearts of the Pinoys and the social media by storm.

Despite its low-budgeted production value, it is generously compensated by its decent plot, memorable lines and effective acting. Positive word-of-mouth has indeed worked well for That Thing Called Tadhana since it was first shown during the Cinema One Originals Film Festival last November. It was the public who had promoted the film and the overwhelming good reviews made everybody else curious and excited about it.

The movie is basically one long conversation between two strangers Mace (played by Angelica) and Anthony (played by JM), both in despair, who become friends over the course of an impromptu road trip. Anthony becomes somewhat of a soundboard to Mace's heartaches and the two eventually enjoy having conversations about life, love, fate, regret and everything else in between. 

Who wouldn't love the movie? Everybody who has experienced heartbreak can certainly relate to the characters' journey of moving on and letting go from their ugly past. The dialogue and the actions of the two characters are so realistic - simple, frank and honest. No sugar-coated, cheesy lines, no chasing-on-the-beach, no slow-motion PDAs, no family conflicts, no expensive courtship gimmicks, no make-believes - just plain honest-to-goodness expressions, sincere reactions and funny, yet straight-to-the-point experiences on love and heartbreak. There wasn't even a single kissing scene throughout the movie! Nothing flashy ever happens. The movie lets us focus on the extensive, yet meaningful dialogues, and makes us listen to Mace and Anthony.

There are quite a number of unforgettable lines featured in the film that have truly etched in the romantic hearts of the Pinoys - lines that are perfectly delivered by Mace and Anthony, the sole characters in the movie. I'm sure everybody now knows F. Scott Fitzgerald's quote, "There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice." A lot are also asking if the book "The Arrow With A Heart Pierced Through Him" is an actual book and if is out in stores. The word "burgis" suddenly became an expression. There are numerous articles about the quotable quotes from the movie. There are countless reviews from famous film critics and amateur bloggers. These are just valid proofs that the movie is without a doubt, a phenomenon.

Considering its unusual and risky theme, with only two actors having conversation during the entire movie, it can get really boring. But, That Thing Called Tadhana manages to pull it off with its engaging subject, its humor and the careful pacing to keep viewers absorbed. Every scene makes you want to pay attention to Mace and Anthony.

Angelica Panganiban, having been in the acting industry for more than two decades already, shows her versatility in drama and in comedy. She simply shifts from crying to cracking funny punchlines naturally and effortlessly. She portrays Mace effectively that if you were the guy who saw her crying at the airport, you'd feel the urge to stop, help her and willingly accompany her on her unplanned stroll.

JM De Guzman, is also very charming in the movie. JM has the charisma and appeal, which would cause a woman to easily trust and be comfortable with him. As the movie introduces him, "hindi sya manyak". JM's actions are as natural and as candid as Angelica's. With his expressive eyes, sincere smile and genuine reaction, JM is definitely the perfect choice to give that look to his Mace.

Angelica Panganiban’s emotions were strong and painfully raw, while JM De Guzman complemented Angelica with his subdued but warm performance. Surprisingly, Angelica and JM  share the strong and powerful chemistry that can make you keep your mind on their conversation.

Even with only two characters, That Thing Called Tadhana will give you a high-quality time at the cinema. The cinematography, acting, musical score is outstanding. The story and the script is grounded, natural and delightful. Tadhana truly deserves credit for trying to break the Philippine cinema's tradition of cheesiness and commercialization - the only thing the movie is guilty of promoting are the tourist attractions in Baguio and Sagada. This is how Filipino movies should be moving forward – a movie that has story and delivery at its heart rather than the spectacle and celebrity.

That Thing Called Tadhana is Graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board and is still showing in cinemas nationwide on its 3rd blockbuster week now! 

Here's the trailer:

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