Film Notes
By Pablo A. Tariman

The variations on love and destiny have long been over explored in cinema to the point of extreme boredom.

Angeline Quinto pays lip service to Jake Cuenca in "Foolish Love." Comic encounters and lofty poetry.

Angeline Quinto pays lip service to Jake Cuenca in “Foolish Love.” Comic encounters and lofty poetry.

In one film after another, characters of lead actors look for signs and mistake one seemingly positive moment for the real thing. But trouble is things can go awry, the perceived signs could be nothing but chance encounters.

Director Joel Lamangan and writer Jerry Gracio offer an entertaining, if, highly poetic twist in “Foolish Love” with another character (Angeline Quinto) perennially obsessed with destiny and mistaking people she accidentally meets as signs of a future romantic destiny unfolding.

Quinto emerges as a natural comedian by just being the character she is: naïve, gullible, but remaining positive whatever the outcome of her fantasy is. And no matter how ridiculous.

By turns, she is encouraged and warned by a close circle of friends (Cai Cortez, Miho Nishida) wishing the best for their friend.

Fun and confusion start when she looks for a childhood sweetheart in the most unlikely places. After one ‘false alarm’ after another, she meets an unlikely answer to her daily supplication when she sees a forlorn man (Jake Cuenca) seemingly left out in the rain. She falls for this one and throws caution to the wind. She is gradually initiated into the perks of a romantic love and even agreeing to do the kinky ritual demanded by her lover who gets extreme delight in being strangled while making love.

Tommy Esguerra and Miho Nishida. A new hot love team in the making?

Tommy Esguerra and Miho Nishida. A new hot love team in the making?

The funny side of the lead character is that she remains naïve even as she goes through the rituals of love-making – just to please her man. Quinto’s character has two comic sides — one on the side of naivete and the other in the form of blatant ignorance.

Indeed, this mad search for destiny has driven her to go to church regularly to seek the counsel of her aunt who happens to be a nun.

In one desperate phase of her love-hungry life, she nearly answered the call of the convent to the horror of her mother (Beverly Salviejo) who’d rather see a single mother daughter than be morally tortured by the possibility of a chaste, if, holy figure in the family.

Much of the fun and comic delight of “Foolish Love” come from the long search of a childhood sweetheart. Another is her regular consultation with her friends who are going through difficult transitions themselves.

On the whole, “Foolish Love” elicits screams and guffaws of fun from the audience — thanks to the consistent portrayal of Quinto as a church-going ‘manang’.

Salviejo as her mother provides the portrait of another middle age, lovelorn woman seeking refuge from loneliness from dance instructors. With ease and insouciant finesse, Salviejo can easily metamorphose from a lonely widow to a concerned mother and as a harum-scarum ballroom dancing aficionado.

Vangie Labalan fares very well as the much-hated corporate witch while Jason Gainza does an earthshaking confession at the MRT station which set the perspective of the lonesome character of Quinto.

On the other hand, Jake Cuenco was a perfect foil as the schizophrenic loner to Quinto’s destiny- obsessed character.

From the way the audience screamed no end in every scene of PBB love team Tommy Esguerra and Miho Nishida, you can sense a new unlikely love team in the making.

Direk Lamangan is not associated with romantic comedies but in this project, he found a way to make something comic and dramatic in the characters. One could sense he used a light brew on which to make something of the story.

The character of Quinto keeps a diary in which she waxes poetic at every turn. Her output is sophomoric but the one coming from the loner (Cuenca) was at best poetry of the exemplary kind.

Poster of "Foolish Love."

Poster of “Foolish Love.”

This is to be expected as the writer (Gracio) is a certified poet and indeed, poetry finding their way in the screenplay was a big bonus in this film with such lofty lines as –

Nabubuo tayo kapag umiibig
Matapos mapilas ang mga damdamin
Sa paulit-ulit na pagkakaputol
Ng mga relasyong sa ating akala
Ay walang hangganan, ngunit natatapos
Sa paghihiwalay. Tayo’y naiiwang
Kabiyak na lamang, tila mga anghel
Na iisa’ng pakpak, hindi makaangat
Kahit na piliting kumampay pataas.
Hinahanap natin ang ating kabiyak
Sa makakasiping, makakapareha.
At kapag nakita, magkaakbay tayong
Magpapaimbulog sa kaitaasan—
Sapagkat buo na dahil umiibig.

The film is light and breezy and with just the right amount of fun and comic encounters thrown in.

Like it or not, it is another version of a tableaux called a funny valentine.

“Foolish Love” directed by Joel Lamangan is now showing in cinemas.

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