Film Notes
By Pablo A. Tariman

The latest starrer of heartthrobs James Reid and Nadine Lustre could very well be their best.

Silent moment for Nadine Lustre and James Reid in "This Time." They stand out in scenes without dialogue.

Silent moment for Nadine Lustre and James Reid in “This Time.” They stand out in scenes without dialogue.

Their brand of acting is surprisingly restrained, they still stand out in scenes without lines to deliver and the rapport improved from the usual predictable stance to more spontaneous combustion — as the line from “That Old Feeling” puts it.

“This Time” — directed by Nuel Crisostomo Naval — has a lightness about it that tugs at your heart and yet it has something achingly familiar for both the young and the not so young—at heart.

As the story makes headways, you see young love blooming and past loves reasserting themselves.

Screened in a theater filled to the rafters with fans of the love team, “This Time” can also be called “Suddenly Last Summer” and it digs deeper into that time of their youth when love and innocence are all that they remember.

Easily the big winner is the script of Mel Mendoza-del Rosario which wove a lyrical tale of parallel love and parallel lives.

Rekindled love is what happens to Reid’s grandpa played by Freddie Webb who rediscovers his dear old Ofelia played by Nova Villa.

And here at last is another character played with subtle nuances by Ronnie Lazaro and rediscovering his old flame in the sunset of his life. The appearance of his loved one at the later part of the film brought the house down with deafening cheers.

Happy moments in "This Time." Their best performance so far.

Happy moments in “This Time.” Their best performance so far.

Given another moving exposure is the relationship between grandpa (Freddie Webb) and grandson (Reid). Grandson loves his grandpa as though every moment of his life depended on it.

With grandson on the verge of love’s awakening and grandpa determined to relive his past love, you see love in various layers, one of which need not be romantic.

With these old flames and tales of old love in the background, the love story of Coby and Ava (Reid and Lustre) finds a new meaning.

Their summer rendezvous provided a good backdrop in which they gradually defined what was in store for them.

They started as friends but as the years go by with them outgrowing their adolescence, you see a special bond developing. They didn’t know what to make of it but what they feel for each other was no doubt something real and definitive.

Director Naval and screenwriter Mel del Rosario capitalize on this romantic dilemma giving the actors a chance to show what they feel for each other without the usual dialogues.

As a result, they shine in quiet moments and that romantic frame finally sealed with a kiss gave way to fans screaming to high heavens.

As it is, the acting of the love birds are way above their previous roles and while there were enough”kilig” moments that had fans screaming all throughout the screening, director Naval gave the film a special touch by getting rid of the romantic clichés and letting the story flow naturally thus capturing a lot of spontaneity in the relationship.

Freddie Webb and Nova Villa. Their past love complements young love in bloom in "This Time."

Freddie Webb and Nova Villa. Their past love complements young love in bloom in “This Time.”

The other members of the acting ensemble did equally well starting with the loquacious character of Candy Pangilinan and the good old padre de familia stance of Al Tantay. Bret Jackson had his own moments coping with his gender and ended up better for it.

If that big crowd in the premiere night is of any indication, the film looked like it is headed for a big box office triumph.

The big plus is that it didn’t compromise the story’s lyrical potentials to cater to the sugary ending of romantic stories.

Indeed, it has something for everyone and one fully agrees with its Grade A rating from the Cinema Evaluation Board.

“This Time” is now showing in cinemas.

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