By By Pablo A. Tariman
ONCE UPON A STORMY NIGHT
posted 5-May-2019  ·  
480 views  ·   0 comments  ·  
Jessy Mendiola and Arjo Atayde in “Stranded.” Excellent rapport.

The age of insightful romance (Ulan, Alone/Together) has invaded Philippine cinema and it isn’t the least surprising that women directors are behind them.

One got this impression after watching Ice Adanan’s “Stranded” starring Jessy Mendiola and Arjo Atayde.

The story is simple enough and it happened on the eve of a big storm that left Metro Manila devastated.

It isn’t just an ordinary storm.

The flood stranded many a commuter leaving a future groom unable to fetch his future bride (Mendiola).

A food delivery boy (Atayde) tries to get his work done amidst the heavy rain. But he ends up stranded in this office with Mendiola. By a stroke of good luck, the vibes suited them and it won’t take long when they warm up to each other while strong winds and heavy rain batter the office building.

The screenplay of Easy Ferrer and Jeps Gallon is really tight without losing the serious and light moments.

Even with its interesting locations, the film is aided in a big way with the lead stars’ rapport and a fine performance that makes you conclude they were made for this movie.

Mendiola’s middle class affectation was a good foil for Atayde’s natural portrait as fun-loving food delivery boy. She is living a programmed life as future bride with a proper husband. As for Atayde’s character, he is clueless about his future. He suits the happy-go-lucky type until he gets a free lesson on marketing his friend’s food delivery business.  All these happening in one office building while the storm rages outside.

When the weather disturbance subsides, the characters go through moments of self-awareness.

Was the future bride really meant as trophy wife aimed at solemnizing a proper middle-class wedding?

As the wedding preparations peak, poor future bride realizes her thoughts are on the delivery boy and by the looks of it has all but lost interest in a proper husband always conscious on how she looks.

The storm trapped them in this building and the same weather turbulence allowed them to have a good look at their individual lives.

As earlier noted, the rapport of the lead stars is exemplary. Where Mendiola’s character is prim and proper, Atayde’s character is more spontaneous and not bogged down by well-laid out future plans.

Their acting allowed for a good contrast of the roles they play.

But there is something unique about Atayde as a natural leading man even as he is known as the villain in a popular teleserye. When the roles change, Atayde’s attacks change as well and before we know it, he is living up to the demands of a lead actor in a rom-com setting. His comedic timing is good as well which gives the film its share of fun and light humor.

Direk Ice Idanan did her homework and it is obvious she has a good grasp of what it takes to pull off a mainstream movie assignment.

As the film ends with a panoramic view of sand and sea, you rediscover love for what it is while allowing you a little lesson that you have to love yourself as well.

“Stranded” -- directed by Ice Idanan and released by Regal Films – is now showing in cinemas.


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