As the title suggests, Starting Over Again is a film about a love that has been lost and revisited by the main characters Marco Villanueva (Piolo Pascual) and Ginny Gonzales (Toni Gonzaga).
We all know from the trailer that Ginny’s the one that pursued her then History professor, Sir Marco during her college years (2004) as an architecture student. Being Ginny, a bubbly, enthusiastic, hopeless romantic that she is, she eventually wins Marco’s heart. All goes well until Ginny decides to leave Marco for unknown reasons, for an unknown acceptable reason (to quote the movie).
Fast forward to 2013, Ginny and Marco meet again. Both have changed and are more successful. This creates (false?) hope for Ginny and doubt and confusion for Marco as he already has a new girlfriend in the person of Patty (Iza Calzado). As the former couple goes down memory lane, they are reminded of the feelings they once felt for each other. The love, joy, excitement and of course, the pain.
Both are searching for closure. Ginny wants to know if there is a reason why destiny has brought them back together and Marco, on the other hand, needs to know why Ginny left him in the first place. Will they get the closure that they need? Or the one that they want?
WARNING: SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP
Here are some points that I like to raise:
1. Similarities with Other Post-Breakup Movies/Shows
The film reminds me of My Amnesia Girl not only because of Toni Gonzaga but also the overall feel of the movie. The movie is bitter and regretful but at the same time, hopeful. Every post-breakup movie is. The dialogues are also full of double-meaning lines that resonate both the past and the present. Sometimes, this kind of dialogues and one-liners appears forced and get really tiring but this time, I’ll let it pass.
It also reminds me of One More Chance since Ginny is an architect by profession and is tasked by Marco and his friends to renovate an ancestral house into a restaurant. This type of storyline has also been used in My Husband’s Lover. I guess, building and designing houses are good material for post-breakup films. Maybe, it symbolizes the aftermath of a heartbreak where both parties pick up the pieces to move on from their past.
What I want to highlight is the way the movie handles flashback scenes. On most parts especially at the start, the flashbacks are fluidly inserted that it is like you are reading the pages of a diary. As one of the reviews I read in Rappler says,
Forgive me for saying this but those parts looked like scenes from Korean movies. I just love the first half so much. It brings you back to the days when you are first in love. All the memories that you tend to forget after years of moving on and growing old.
Acting-wise, both actors deliver except maybe for Toni when scenes require running tears. Also, Ginny reminds me of a more mature and less weird Dora of Kimmy Dora. I also need to note that Beauty Gonzales is one of the crowd favorites. She plays one of Ginny’s best friends and her tactless one-liners will surely make you laugh out loud.
Additionally, I’m sorry for saying this but Iza looks old in the movie. I don’t know if this is intended since she is supposed to be the mature and understanding girlfriend.
4. Missing Links in Story Lines
Like how it is said in most of the reviews I read, the movie is far from flawless. It is not really explained how Marco has decided to become a chef and own his restaurant. There seems to be a disconnect between the past and the present. A lot of events are abruptly introduced. All of a sudden, Ginny has a project. All of a sudden, they have a homecoming to attend to.
I don’t know if this is intended by the writer for the movie to be more contemporary and intelligent. I’m not sure. Sometimes, it works and sometimes, not.
5. Two Women and a Scaffolding Made of Coco Lumber
I definitely did not expect Ginny to literally beg Patty to leave Marco though it was still consistent with her character. Her desperation made the scene a bit “unconventional”. Something that we haven’t seen before.
Naturally, like any normal viewer, I also did not expect the accident they had with the scaffolding. That part was just beyond ridiculous.
Marriage booth, boy catches girl falling down a ladder, etc. The movie also uses a lot, and I mean a LOT of cliches. I won’t list everything down but really, a “homecoming”. That’s just the most cliche among all cliches in romantic movies.
On the contrary, the movie does not give its viewers a cliche ending. Just like what’s written in my introduction, they got the closure that they needed, not what Ginny wanted.
This is okay and I believe a more realistic ending. I just hope that it has been presented in a different way, a more modern way not in a montage of “moving on” scenes.
I feel like the cameos are SO unnecessary. It makes the film “cheap” and commercialized. Entering and winning International film festivals should always be the main goal.
Overall, I am disappointed with the movie. It meets my standards and I have not felt like my money (P210 Ugh, so expensive) is put to waste. It is entertaining and heartwarming and anyone who has fallen in and out of love will surely relate to it.