Cathy Garcia-Molina could do a re-boot of ONE MORE CHANCE (2007), and can still maintain its intelligent charm. That’s for sure. However, she does another thing. Instead of bringing, yet another painfully cutesy Star Cinema film, she manages to offer something far deeper than her original. Once again, Garcia-Molina has considered creating a cinematic film that thrives on an un-cinematic plot, and she quite succeeds. Despite its quickie resolution, A SECOND CHANCE (2015) is arguably one good piece. It deals with the question on what happen after the vows and promises. It offers answers to familiar hypotheses on the small and the big tragedies of marriage and of being together. Yes, Popoy and Basha didn’t had a happy ending when the former got his chance. Instead, as a couple, they were made to experience the painful truth about life, marriage and identities.
After they got married, we meet Popoy and Basha again. They had already establish their own construction firm and lay down their plans to build a home and family. All is well until Basha had a miscarriage. Popoy had to ask Basha to stay at home and rest, while he continue managing the firm. Two years after, with Basha as a plain housewife and Popoy managing their business, all went awry and piled up to the ceiling. As he tries to keep the firm afloat, Popoy reluctantly changes his gears when it comes to Basha.
Garcia-Molina is on the top of her game in this sequel. Though one doesn’t need another painful journey for two well-loved Filipino movie characters, Garcia-Molina manages to rekindle our want to journey with her once again. What I like most about her direction are the intricate compositions in her scenes. Basha, known for the comfort she gets from peanut butter sandwiches, still gets the same treats from her husband Popoy. Garcia-Molina establishes this symbolic comfort in most of the heavy scenes. Here, we get to see more than just a pair of sliced bread. Popoy prepares multi-layered peanut butter sandwiches – symbolic of both their affection, and the same time, visualizing their business in construction. In one scene, when Basha disappoints Popoy during breakfast, the latter unconsciously tipped the humungous sandwich that somehow offers a silent message. Popoy still loves Basha, but he can’t make it work without her trusting him again.
John Lloyd Cruz continues to be the lovably dashing Popoy in this series. In his quite moments, Cruz conquers his audiences; and in his loudest – he gets cheers. Here, Popoy has grown to maturity and has started to face new forms of challenges – personal and professional. In Popoy, we see our own risks brought about by the new entrepreneurial Filipino mindset. It is good to mention how Garcia-Molina and her writers manage to develop his character into a more complicated individual with a new set of problems, both realistic and cinematic.
Bea Alonzo continues on with her charm as Basha. This time, Basha is more than in love with her husband and is willing to take so much risk just to be with him. The chance that she gave him paid him more than what he expected, which is a good thing. In Basha, we see the loving wife, the submissive soon-to-be-mother, the silent expectator and in the end, the loving confidant. Alonzo offers a more matured Basha as she handles her character’s humdrum and grief, let alone her growing desire to be herself, once again.
As much as I loved the premise and how the film develops its discourse, what troubles me is how a potentially good plot quickly resolves towards its end. See, all is good until the final scene. I’m not sure if you’d agree, but getting back to yet another cheesy climax and denoument somewhat pulls everything good a notch lower. Maybe that’s the curse of mainstream cinema. Maybe that’s what the only way a Star Cinema film could close an almost good discourse. I hope not.
A SECOND CHANCE offers something much more than a love story, as it delves deeper into the scalding realities of what we face today. Instead of pursuing their passions in their respective corporate lives, Popoy and Basha have decided to put up a business and risk chances for a promise of a better future. In the process, they deal with much harsher realizations. Debt, taxes, loss of clients, loss of confidence, among many others. The film argues that these current millennial thoughts of taking an alternative career path can also make or break your relationship with the one you love, and much more with yourself.
4 STARS out of 5.