Movie Showcases Modern Pinay Traits
Empowering is how to describe the image of the modern Filipina after watching the most recent romance film, “Maybe This Time,” that opened in Philippine cinemas last May 28. The movie is a collaboration of Star Cinema and Viva Films and stars Coco Martin, Ruffa Gutierrez and Sarah Geronimo. The two leading female characters are notable because they epitomize personalities of the Pinay today.
In the movie, girl meets boy one summer in the province. Romance ensues. Girl’s mother secretly intervenes. Boy disappears suddenly which puzzles girl what could have happened. Fast forward seven years after, girl now works a stylish office job in the big city and works for a mean boss who gives an assignment to makeover her boyfriend. She will later learn he is her ex-fling, Tonio/Anton Bugayong, played by Coco Marin. This is where the conflicts arise as emotions and history are put to the test. Who will the boy end up with? It becomes a catfight of mismatched opponents who both feel for the same man.
The two main characters are played by Sarah Geronimo (Stephanie “Steph/ Tep-Tep” Asuncion) and Ruffa Gutierrez (Monica T. Villanueva, a.k.a. “MTV”). Here’s my take on their characters:
Beauty queen Gutierrez plays antagonist here as vampy, feisty and domineering Public Relations maven Monica T. Villanueva. She is a strong, liberated and a westernized Pinay who is powerful at everything except her weakness for love. She is the present girlfriend here of Coco Martin who plays Anton in the movie. Gutierrez brings the Filipina character alive in a way Samantha Jones of HBO’s “Sex And The City” does. She shows that there is more to the Pinay that the world knows as humble servants, nurses, caregivers. Gutierrez is Sarah Geronimo’s boss and the bossy girlfriend of Coco Martin. This glamourous Pinay really knows how to play the part of a woman in a position of power. It is refreshing to watch Gutierrez in a movie again, in a role that she can justify. Her ensembles here tend to overwhelm, a-la Lady Gaga, in contrast to Gutierrez’s off-screen sweet personality. She is obviously physically bigger and taller than Geronimo and Martin. Her height all the more boosts her character as the big boss of a high-end PR firm and a bossy Pinay on top of her game.
This diva has gone a long way from entering show business as a singer via the IBC-13 talent search “Star for A Night” (2002). Geronimo’s acting chops here were impressive. Her protagonist character Stephanie “Tep-Tep” Asuncion exudes the conventional conservative Pinay but an outspoken one. She knows what she wants and goes for it. She is modest yet she goes after her man—Anton. She doesn’t shy away from making her move by kissing him. Watching her exchange lines with Martin and Gutierrez is reminiscent of Sharon Cuneta back in the ‘80s in her movies with Gabby Concepcion and Cherie Gil. Geronimo’s wardrobe and styling is sophisticated and refreshing. Her best look was when she was in a gold belt and going down the stairs while Bugayong was looking up. Her crying dialogue with him in the ravine location exhibited her growth and potential brilliance as an actress. Acting awards may not be far behind.
Geronimo and Gutierrez’s characters contrast but both showcase strong personas of the modern Pinay today—career-driven and ready to fight for love.
Overall, “Maybe This Time” is a feel-good movie that entertains. It is enjoyable to watch for all romantics and fans of the three stars. In the end, one diva wins the love of her life. Why not indeed?
Jaycon Yaneza is based in Manila. He is an AB Literature graduate of the University of Santo Tomas. He has written for Manila Bulletin and Icon magazine. You can get to know Jaycon on his blog divasr4ever.
Photos courtesy of Sarah Geronimo, Ruffa Gutierrez, Star Cinema and Viva Films.