Some Jellicle Readers have been asking me as to when I’ll post my thoughts on Director Antoinette Jadaone’s THAT THING CALLED TADHANA . I never, actually, thought that I’d write something about it. Yes, it’s good. Sooo good, that I find it hard to express how good it is.
Luckily, Robbie, a writer-friend and a former colleague, obliged to doing a write up and granted to share his thoughts on this site. His commentary on Jadaone’s latest film reflects my own. And I think, that by sharing his review to you, Jellicle Readers, we get to encourage more people to see and appreciate films such as these.
Thank you, Robbie! Just keep on writing!
If you were intrigued by the surprising commercial success of THAT THING CALLED TADHANA (2014), but weren’t curious enough to go watch it, you must be under the impression that it’s just another run-of-the-mill rom-com. You’re wrong. Director Antoinette Jadaone‘s great material takes the route most Filipino flicks take — that, which involves the words ‘heart’ and ‘destiny’ — would rather not take. It offers a refreshing screenplay that more adept moviegoers are likely to appreciate. In fact it’s so refreshing that it might have just created a genre of it’s own. TADHANA feels like a glorified documentary done in good taste. As to how anything glorified could be done in good taste, I’ll leave it to Jadaone’s credentials.
The film frees itself from the love formula we are all familiar with, even if the main premise is nothing new: Girl sees the end of an eight-year relationship, wallows in her heartbreak, goes some place to find herself and hopes to move on. Boy comes along unexpectedly, does not intend to be the knight in shining armor, but eventually finds himself feeling something special. The film purposely turns its back on what normally makes the masses tick. There is no grand production, no comic lines being shoved down your throat, no roster of supporting acts, no dramatic declaration of love, no going to great lengths to run after one’s love, and thank heavens: no shameless product placement. Instead, it chooses to be quiet, steady, honest and witty. It is serious, but not heartbreaking; hilarious without even trying and; smart without being overwhelming. The restraint used in every scene results in effective storytelling and pulls the magic, not out of fairy tale-ish circumstances, but from the humanness of its characters. Who, by the way, happen to be the only players in the movie (another bold move).
This Angelica Panganiban & JM de Guzman starrer triumphs through effortless performances and a good story. It has a steady flow which never once wavers or gets confusing. It manages to keep the audience focused and engrossed even if it has nothing else to offer but Anthony and Mace’s uneventful journey and the little things in it that mirror ourselves. THAT THING CALLED TADHANA is a story that reminds us that love can be a no-frills kind of thing, and reminds us (once again) that it can be born out of friendship, in the unlikeliest of places.