11/27/2015

Why we probably don’t need ‘A Second Chance’

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Let’s start with a big fat disclaimer: I’m a big fan of One More Chance and I have, on occasion, forced unsuspecting friends to watch it upon learning that they haven’t yet. It’s one of the most iconic local movies in recent memory, the alleged pioneer of hugot, and the first collaboration of the reigning angst-romance trio of Direk Cathy Garcia-Molina, John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo.

If you still haven’t seen it, One More Chance tells the story of a perfect love that grows tired, followed by some soul-searching and a seemingly endless stream of bad timing. It depicts a more realistic view of relationships — less telenovela and more “real life.” Through Popoy and Basha, played by John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo respectively, we live out what Daniel Johnston has been trying to tell us all along: “True love will find you in the end.”

Or does it? That’s the question that the sequel, A Second Chance, seems to taunt us with.

Set several years after the first movie ends, A Second Chance explores the intricacies of marriage and what comes after the “happy ending.” In an interview for CNN Philippines’ Real Talk, Bea Alonzo mused about one’s willingness to commit forever to a person who will, inevitably, change every day.

When I first heard about the sequel, I immediately recoiled at the thought. Doesn’t One More Chance already tackle the idea of “a second chance”? Why does it feel like we’re getting a rewind? Maybe it’s unfair to shut a sequel down before even seeing it, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was a bit unnecessary to link this particular story to the characters. Instead of creating a new universe, they created an extension of an old one that we had peacefully left behind.

As much as I like resolutions, I shamelessly love open endings when it comes to stories that rely on the push-pull, on the sordid, romantic angst. Similar to how I feel about J.K. Rowling’s needless Harry Potter addendums, some things are better left alone, especially if they are already beautiful in their own right.

The beauty of an open ending is that it gives you room to wonder and imagine. My sister and I have always disagreed about it — she hates open-ended resolutions and prefers solid, permanent closure. Vague endings absolutely infuriate her. I, on the other hand, like to torture myself and agonize over what could possibly happen after. Did they make up? How? What are the specifics of this reunion? Did they go on a romantic dinner to catch up, everything new tainted by sentimentality and affection they still have for each other? Did her eyes catch the moonlight that one time they were walking beside each other on the beach? Was that moment what made him decide that she was The One? Or did their romantic connection fizzle out, with them ending up as Just Friends, but the kind of friends with a closeness that makes their future respective partners fidget and worry?

After One More Chance wrapped, we’ve been able to live with that hopeful reunion and exit for eight years, moving on to other stories and characters from the very same team. Now, with A Second Chance, we’ve got an (unsolicited) sad and official follow-up to Popoy and Basha’s story — and we have to live with it? Let’s face it: this story only goes two ways. They end up together or they don’t. If they do end up together, does that mean everyone deserves a second, a third, a fourth chance? What is the limit to forgiving f**k-ups? And, if it goes the other way, well… if Popoy and Basha can’t make it, what makes the rest of us sad schmucks think that we can?

I mean, it’s still likely that I’ll watch it — the onscreen chemistry between the two, which has been in the works for 15 years, and direk Cathy’s direction are too hard to resist — but… I still don’t know if it’s a necessary story to tell, using these characters. In the same Real Talk interview, Bea briefly mentioned that they didn’t want to do the sequel at first. I thought this particular story had closed its doors for us already, with Popoy and Basha presumably living out their lives away from scrutiny and onlookers. Guess I was wrong. Here’s hoping that everyone deserves the ending that they get.

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