Looking good, above all.
(Courtesy of sirearevalo.com)
For a supposedly conservative and religious country, we certainly have an odd attitude towards extra marital affairs, indiscretions and other such similar activities: not only are they tolerated, they seem to have been accepted as woven into our culture, no one even batting an eyelash anymore if someone says they have half-siblings.
Not that I want the batting, but you have to admit, given our penchant for claiming ourselves as pious, it is a peculiar attitude to have.
A Secret Affair is the latest film offering that seems to be parlaying this fact onto the big screen: everyone does it, it can't be helped, just look good while you're doing it. About a third into the film, I was furtively looking for any CBCP representatives in the audience ready to shame us for shelling out money to watch it.
Notes on the film:
(1) Was this film sponsored by a realty company? The places where most of the scenes take place seem to held in model units of condos or houses that seem to be for display, nothing out of place, picture perfect, with one even taking place facing out a picturesque "nature" backdrop. I'm beginning to think that with all their preoccupation with making their houses ready for a brochure close-up, they had no energy left to salvage all their personal relationships.
(2) It's perfectly understandable why Rafaela (Anne Curtis) decided to dump Anton (Derek Ramsay) the night before their wedding - all together now, "classic cold feet". Of course, it's also not clear why anyone would say yes to a wedding proposal just after two months of meeting and dating each other. You'd think that because of what Rafi's parents went through (played by Jacklyn Jose and Joel Torre), she'd be more circumspect about any potential partner.
(3) The most authentic scene for me was the first time Sam (Andi Eigenmann) and Anton knew each other in the biblical sense. They couldn't wait to do it, and they found a construction site to consumate their desire for each other. The authenticity stopped when they were "done", parted ways and rode in their respective brand new cars. I'm not sure if the rich would ever have trysts in a place where they could puncture their alabaster skin with some carelessly lying rust-encrusted nails.
(4) Derek Ramsay is fully utilized for his talents - a.k.a. the current definition of male physical perfection. There doesn't seem to be a single fat cell in his body, and the camera was rather relentless in going over every inch - above the waist - of this sought-after commodity. He's also mastered the I'm-hurt-and-I-sound-like-a-wounded-bird voice, which he used about 90% of the time in this film, crying with Anne/Rafi, pleading with Rafi's parents, or having a monologue while his "bud" listened. No, having that voice doesn't qualify as good acting. The whole time, the words "one trick pony" kept flashing whenever he was onscreen. Good thing his body is the envy of every guy in the country - now that has absolutely no fault whatsoever.
(5) I don't really understand why the movie is an "affair" movie: Sam and Anton were doing it before Rafi entered the picture, and then they started up again only when Rafi dumped Anton and left without explaining why. If anything, Anton has the right to get all huffy; I can see the thought bubble now: "Ikaw na nga nangiwan! Ano, titigil buhay ko dahil wala ka na at di lang man nagsabi kailan babalik?!?"
(6) I don't think any feminist would like the way Sam is portrayed here: like a vulture sizing up the situation and seizing a time to swoop in. You have the obligatory slapping scene between the female leads, but Anton gets it a little bit too easy by doing that dang bird voice routine. Is "it takes two to tango" still unheard of by movie writers? Or is this an attempt to turn stereotypes around? Notice how in the stairwell scene, it is Anton who pretends to resist oral, uh, treatment by Sam (while unsuspecting Rafi walks past by a few times).
(7) I like Jacklyn Jose. I always have.
(8) I might use Rafi's line about coffee in the near future.
(9) I didn't know you could enter high-rise construction sites with a party dress and high heels, with only a hard hat for "protection".
(10) The truth: When trust is broken, things will never be the same. What happens next is always a choice.