Tuesday, February 17, 2015

That Thing Called Tadhana (2014)

"Where do broken hearts go? Can they find their way home?"
Were those rhetorical questions, Tita Whitney? Apparently not, since the movie about That Thing Called Tadhana is all about two broken hearts traveling to find themselves. They bumped into each other in Rome (where one's dream came true while the other's was shattered), flew back together to Manila, and then embarked on a road trip to Baguio and to Sagada. Along the way, they learned to let go of baggage, literally and figuratively, and to trust each other enough to share their stories.

Contrary to what other people may think, I thought that this movie is perfect for those who didn't plan on spending their Valentine's Day with their (formerly) significant others; as I've mentioned to a friend when she asked if it's okay to watch it without a date. In fact, for those who haven't gotten over broken relationships, they'd have a lot to say about the movie and it's catchy pop culture references (e.g., John Lloyd Cruz's boy-next-door, bring-home-to-mom image; Bea Alonzo's overly dramatic lines in One More Chance*). 

A friend asked which line in the movie got to me after I've seen it. I said that none of them did. I found the lines funny because many of them referred to real situations in the actors' lives (sort of scratching at the fourth wall without actually breaking it, somewhat). 

But...

What got to me was the cinematography and the use of a short story within the movie to move things along. Cinematography, I thought, was brilliant! Who would've thought of using luggage as a metaphor for things these two characters need to let go to move on? of beverages to show that at the beginning (iced teas at different levels in the tumblers), they didn't see eye to eye but drinking from coffee cups at a later stage indicated that they're getting along quite well? of abruptly shifting from being alone in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Session Road to the literal but serene isolation above the clouds in Sagada? 

(Clue: the people responsible for producing the movie did... genius!)

The short story, on the other hand, illustrated how their relationship developed over that short span of time that they've been traveling. By the end of the movie, it is up to the audience to interpret the short story's ending: did the two protagonists get their happy-ever-after together or separately?

That really is the question, isn't it? With that thing called tadhana (fate), did they embark on such a fairy tale whirlwind relationship (which most romantics wish for) or did they continue on a more realistic pace? It was relatively easy for them to open up during their road trip because they're strangers and they merely acted as each other's sounding boards. But once they got back to their routine in Manila, would they still be as close?

So see, Tita Whitney, these two urban broken hearts in the Philippines traveled around the world and ascended cloud-topped mountains only to return to Manila. Meeting at an airport in Europe was fate; nurturing a flourishing relationship requires rolling up one's sleeves and diving into the mud flood.

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* One More Chance. This is a movie about the ill-fated and overly dramatic long-term relationship of Popoy and Basha. This is the one movie that I cannot watch from start to finish because it's too difficult for me to watch. Why couldn't they just let go? They're both suffering anyway. (Sorry.)