The film already crossed the 350 million mark and still counting since it opened in February. We only watched it last weekend and were not surprised to see the theater jam packed even in an afternoon screening. Before watching the film, we already read a lot of spoilers on what the ending would turn out. It’s a little disappointing but what can we do we’re already three weeks late.
When Ginny (Toni Gonzaga) was still in college, she only loved one man, his history teacher Marco (Piolo Pascual). Ginny’s dream came true and finally wins his heart before graduating. Fast-forward to the present, their relationship didn’t work out. One day, when Ginny received an email from Marco dated four years back, she didn’t expect that she’s going regret all the things from her past as Marco already had a new-found girl in Patty. (Iza Calzado)
We thought that this film would pretty much have the same routine from the recent Rom-Com Star Cinema releases. However, they brought another angle and a different ending that usually doesn’t happen on a regular basis. Still, they manage to provide comedic touches, romantic tropes and hard-hitting exchange of lines. We just feel that something’s missing from it as we didn’t feel a lot of emotions while watching except the funny scenes that usually make us laugh.
The cast is undeniably incredible. Toni Gonzaga is really fun to watch as she can switch her acting quickly shifting from comedy to drama. She looks stunning, and it seems like she’s not aging with the way she looks. Piolo Pascual and Iza Calzado also shine with their characters with each of them pushed to their limits.
Overall, Starting Over Again had its moments even it may not have an ending everybody expected. As the story intends to have a grasp with reality, some may or may not relate with the characters involved in it. For us, we simply did love the funny parts, especially whenever Toni is going crazy with her antics.
This movie will not bring out the hopeless romantic in you but it will change your perspective about things in life, especially in love. The kind of perspective that most of us have been experiencing but keep on denying: the perspective of reality. If you’re one of those who are still not getting over with their past ex, those who haven’t had a closure with their past relationship, those who still hope for second chance, then this movie perfectly fits for you.
Starting Over Again has a strong ensemble who cracks the wit out of us (Toni Gonzaga), squeezes our heart with dazzling charm (Piolo Pascual), and sends chill to our spine with subdue yet very effective acting performance (Iza Calzado). This film is a comedy drama flick with heavy context on human relationship, not only romantic love relationship but family relationship as well. I admired the way that the screenplay is written because it enabled a very serious matter be brought up into film in a light mannered approach. Surely you would think of this film as some feel good movie that will send you out the cinema smiling and very much thrilled by the love story you’ve justwatched. Uhmm…well, yes it will make you feel like that, but the other way around, not for reason that you are thinking now.
What can I say about this film? Starting Over Again will make you hope in love, fear in love, doubt in love – but most importantly it will make you look in love on a realistic side. Starting Over Again has the unidealized love story that is emotionally ruthless; yet offering generous spectacles of the happy kind of love affair that didn’t work but is now subjecting for possible second chance. It will certainly open up your past wounds (if there’s any) that no one can really determine on how you would feel after;at some point this movie is quite unpredictable and maybe that’s what makes the great difference from the other typical chick flicks. As they say love is lovelier for the second time around … the film says that yes it is, but it’s more painstaking as well.
Indeed, Toni Gonzaga gave herself out here, sharing to us her great knacks for comedy. Piolo Pascual who has proven his acting skills in his past projects gave what is being expected from him in this dramedy film. His charm never fails; his screen appearance is a great sight to behold as always. And Iza Calzado, what else can I say for this lady, she only got few moments here in this movie but she’s as remarkable as ever. That particular scene, wherein for couple of seconds she never speaks a word but her eyes alone notably do all the talking – you don’t hear a word but you hear the powerful sub-context of her silence, very-Iza-Calzado and I really loved it. And of course the other artists in their supporting roles have done a great job here that added to the beauty of the movie.
The film narration with its series of flashbacks is done with balance; as it able to build up the emotions at perfect pacing, and deliver the climax at right timing. As with the psyche development of the characters, Iza’s character wasn’t strongly established which is may be the reason why at some point of the movie she appeared off and unrealistic. However, Iza’s acting prowess is able to make up for that flaw in the character development. All the rest I think are intentionally delivered in their respective manners for the purpose of strengthening the twist and justifying it after, of which I believed, was given enough justice at the end of the movie.
I love the way they ended this film. Not a perfect one, but deeply and strongly felt. So for this movie I’ll give a rating of 8 Espresso Shots and I look forward seeing more realistic films like this one!
What is inside the grateful heart of a blockbuster director? Direk Olive opens her heart during a speech she delivered during “Starting Over Again’s” victory party.
“Una sa lahat, I thank God, who carried us from beginning to end.
I think this is my 11th project and in my entire career, akala ko walang tatalo sa nangyari sa akin sa ‘Sana Maulit Muli’ (pero meron), ito ‘yun.
This project has given me so much stress kasi for the first time, divided ang Star Cinema. When we first presented the concept to the management, ang una kong sinabi, ‘eto ang magiging ending nito, ha.’ Kasi hindi ko malalaro kung hindi ganito ang ending nito. It will not be different from the other projects that we have done. They all agreed. Although si Malou, parang nakangiti lang nun. Ang sabi lang niya sa akin, ‘Talaga? Ikaw, nahihilig ka na sa mga hindi happy ending ha.’ But, she agreed nonetheless.
Tapos, we pitched it to Charo and she said, ‘Ewan ko ba diyan kay Inang, kung bakit nahihilig sa mga hindi nagkakatuluyan ngayon.’ But then, I stood firm and said, ‘Hindi ko kasi malalaro ang karakter ni Toni kapag hindi natin ginawa ito.’
And in my heart, I really wanted something new for Star Cinema kasi lagi na lang tayo sinasabihan na puro ganyan na lang ‘yung prino-produce, puro happy ending, the usual. It’s very predictable.
Ang daming karga nung inumpisahan ang project na ‘to. There was this Toni who has been wanting to work with us, and has been wanting to work with Piolo. And there was Piolo, na nagtampo ako nun. Tapos, it took quite some time na magkasama kami.
On the first day sa set, tumawag ako kay Malou. Sabi ko, ‘Malou, namiss ko si Piolo Pascual. Mahal ko pala talaga ‘tong batang ‘to.’ And it was also because of him na talagang pinanindigan ko at naming lahat ‘yung ending because of his character. Alam ni PJ ‘yun. So, dasal ako nang dasal sa Diyos. Palagi kong sinasabi sa kanya na ‘we’re just your instruments. Ikaw talaga ang nagdi-direk nito at nagsusulat nito.’
So, the Holy Spirit guided us through kasi iba ‘yung risk namin sa pelikulang ito. And then, sabi nga ni Leo Mari, ‘Inang sa lahat ng projects na pinagsamahan natin, from ‘In the Name of Love,’ ‘The Mistress,’ and ‘Starting Over Again,’ ngayon ka lang hindi sigurado.’ Sabi ko, ‘oo.’ Kasi towards the end, nung nakita na nina Malou ‘yung mg rushes, gusto na nilang magkatuluyan. Ha? Magkakatuluyan? Naloloka na kami ni Carmi kasi hindi ‘yan ‘yung story. This is not the story, you’re changing the entire story. But as good soldiers, pinag-isipan pa rin namin talaga.
Pag magkakatuluyan, eto mangyayari. Pag hindi magkakatuluyan, eto mangyayari. All throughout, meron kaming o pag hindi nagkatuluyan, let’s shoot it this way. So kukunan namin. Para naman sa nagkatuluyan sila, let’s shoot it this way. And all my actors were really cooperative and they understood na we need to do it that way. There was a time na nagsisigawan na kami ni Malou. Nagsisigawan na kami and Carmi was crying. Tapos, sabi ni Malou, ‘Hindi. It has the end this way.’ Talagang divided. She had the rest of the heads called in. Once again, I presented pag magkakatuluyan, eto. Pag hindi magkakatuluyan, eto. And that was the first time I saw Star Cinema divided. Nag-end kami ni Malou na wala, hindi kami nagkikibuan. Magkaaway kami, hindi kami bati.
I had to go to the shooting with a heavy heart, really, really unsure and very,very uncertain of the outcome. But as a good soldier, siyempre officer ako ng kompanya, palagi kong iniisip hindi lang ang Star Cinema, kundi pati na rin ang audience. Always, ang dami kong bitbit. Kaya laging sinasabi ni Leo Mari, ‘parang hindi ka sure.’ Sabi ko, ‘oo kasi ang laki ng risk ng pelikulang ito.’
Sabi ko, ‘Dear God, ano ba talaga? Isu-surrender ko na ba? Ito na ba talaga?’ Sabi ko, ‘sige, eto na.’
Okay na. Sabi ko kay PJ, “Anak, talo tayo. Ito na talaga. Magkakatuluyan na.’
The very intelligent Piolo Pascual asked, ‘so Inang, ‘yung character ko parang weak?’ Sabi ko, ‘Oo, that’s what’s gonna happen to your character. Weak siya talaga kasi hindi na siya natuto.’
Si Toni naman, from storycon, ayaw niya talaga ‘yung ending na hindi magkakatuluyan, Palagi siyang nalulungkot. ‘Inang, hindi sila magkakatuluyan?’ ‘Carmi, ito ‘yung script na sobra akong kinilig at sobra akong nagandahan, pero sa huli, hindi ko na mabasa kasi hindi sila nagkatuluyan.’ From Day 1, that was what she was saying. And then, finally I told her na ‘Tin, masusunod na ‘yung gusto mo. Magkakatuluyan na kayo.’ Tapos, nagulat ako sa sinabi niya, ‘Inang, nung una, nalulungkot po ako na hindi sila magkakatuluyan. Pero habang nagshu-shoot tayo, naconvince niyo na ako na dapat nga silang hindi magkatuluyan.’ Sabi ko, ‘Ha? Ganun ba?’
For days, we were shooting. Eto na, alam ko na magkakatuluyan na sila. Happy na, happy. Tapos, one day, nagshu-shoot kami sa Paranaque, sa condominium nina Beauty. Sabi ko, ‘no. This cannot be. I have to make a stand. Ano ba talaga ang kwento mo, Olive? Ganito talaga ang kwento.’ And this is what the entire film is about so why change it. So, tawag ako sa Line Producer ko na si Elma Medua, who I am really, really grateful to, who stood by me from beginning to end and who believed in my ending. Alam ko kasi kung gaano kahirap kumampi sa gusto natin. So anyway, I told Elma, as the line producer, that I’m going to call Malou Santos and I’m making a stand that this is the ending that I want to do. I’m not going to do the ending they want. This is the ending that I believed in and it’s going to cover all the objectives we’ve set for this project.
Tawag ako kay Malou. Aba, may missed call si Malou Santos.
O sige, tatawag ako. Ready na ready naman ako sa kanya. Nagdasal pa ako, ‘Lord, please be with me. Dear Holy Spirit blah blah blah’ Mag-bestfriend kami pero may mga panalangin akong ganyan. Sabi ko, ‘Hello, Malou?’ Sabi niya, ‘Olive?’ ‘Yes Malou? Tumawag ka?’ ‘Oo.’ ‘Patawag kasi ako sa’yo.’ Sabi niya, ‘Napanood ko mga rushes mo. May mga ginawa ka ‘no? O sige, ganito na ang mangyayari. Basta bibigyan mo ako ng ganitong eksena, basta may sasabihin siyang ganito.’
Sabi ko, ‘Malou, what are you saying? Are you saying that you are ammenable to my ending? To our original ending?’ Sabi niya, ‘Oo. Kasi ang ganda na ngayon ng mga napapanood ko uli.’ Sabi ko, ‘Malou, alam mo gusto kong umiyak.’ Sabi niya, ‘Bakit? Bakit ka iiyak?’ Kasi ayaw na ayaw niyang umiiyak ako. Sabi ko, ‘Kasi tumawag ako sa’yo para sabihin ko sa’yo na lahat ng naipon ko, ibibigay ko na lang. Babayaran ko na lang ‘yung expense pero hindi mo ako mapapa-shoot sa ending na gusto niyo. If you insist, find another director at lahat-lahat talaga ng naipon ko sa tanang buhay ko, ibibigay ko sa Star.’
So ayun. That was how it came to be. Pero ‘yung paghihirap, hindi natatapos dun kasi pinagbigyan ka sa ending na gusto mo e. The ball is in your court. It has to work. Everytime na magshu-shoot, mas lalong iniisip mo na it has to work. Lahat tinitingnan para maging maganda at maging tama ‘yung desisyon mo.
Fight for what you believe in. Fight for the truth. Take the risk, Gabby. And pray. Pray a lot. Mag-novena ka. Pumunta ka sa Pangasinan. Lumuhod ka sa lahat ng santo.
But it doesn’t end there. Sa post-production, mixing na which is the last. ‘Yung isang Associate Editor namin, si Noah. Sige nga, papanoorin namin. Pinanood namin from beginning to end. Nakikita ko na medyo objective ‘tong bata. Tawa siya nang tawa. Tapos, nakita ko nakahiga na. Sabi ko, parang gandang-ganda siya. Tapos, natapos na, sabi ko, ‘Noah, what can you say?’ Tumayo, pumunta sa may pinto. Sabi niya, ‘Ang sakit po. Ang sakit po pelikulang ito. Kung ako po may pinagdadaanan, hindi ko po panonoorin ang pelikulang ‘to.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sus ko. Talaga naman. Ang comment, hindi panonoorin.’ Diyos ko, sabi ko, ‘tama ba talaga ang ginawa namin?’ Hind raw niya ire-recommend. Sabi ko,’ ah sige. Siguro dahil sa bata. Bata pa itong si Noah.’
Mixing. Dumating si Nanet, hindi na ‘to bata. Sabi ko, tamang tayo, ‘Nanet, ano?’ Sabi niya, ‘Ang sakit po. Sinaktan mo ako, Direk.’ Sabi ko, ‘Diyos ko, Carmi. Wala yatang manonood ng pelikula natin. Tama yata sila.’
Anyway, sobra akong stressed out. Again, nagdasal na naman ako. And this time, umiiyak na ako kasi nagpapanic na ako. Sabi ko, ‘Dear God, you are with us from beginning blah blah blah.’ Tapos, may narinig ako, ‘Shut up. Be still and know that I am God.’ From there on, wala na. I surrendered everything. And I am just so grateful that it worked, that we covered all the objectives we’ve set up for this project. And that Star Cinema was able to give something new to its audience. That wouldn’t be possible without the help of everyone.
Let me start with, Malou Santos. Maraming salamat for reconsidering. Kahit nag-aaway na tayo, you would always look at the quality and reasons. Maraming, maraming salamat for trusting us. For all your creative inputs, kahit pagod na pagod kami, kahit nagdudusa kami araw-araw, maraming, maraming salamat.
And to you Charo and Gabby, thank you for serving as my inspiration in always doing something new for our audience.
And to Carmi, thank you for the beautiful beautiful script. Thank you for trusting me and trusting yourself. And for pushing yourself.
Thank you very much to Francis for your beautiful music. Maraming salamat sa lahat ng department ng Star Cinema.”