"Para Sa Hopeless Romantic"4:40 AM
We were in a whole day food event in Marquee Mall in Pampanga about two years ago when my good friend Marcelo Santos handed me a copy of his book "Para Sa Hopeless Romantic". The book was all covered in an unassuming red layout with silhouettes of a man and a woman. It was its first cover. I was moved by his gesture but knowing my impatient, non-novel-reader self, I was not sure if I will get the chance to read it.
Until today, I have to be honest that I wasn't able to finish the book. Marcelo understands why. He knows that I am just not into reading fiction. However, I got curious with the amount of attention the young ones are giving to him and his works. A lot of romantic writers are in the social sharing platform Wattpad but Marcelo must be doing something different to lead the way and accumulate this level of massive following.
From his book comes the characters of Nicko, Rebecca, Ryan and Maria which are portrayed by James Reid, Nadine Lustre, Iñigo Pascual and Julia Barretto, respectively. It is the perfect casting to satisfy the kind of audience who loved the book and would rush to the cinemas next week to watch the movie.
I watched the film adaptation already and was quiet impressed with Nadine. I still believe that she is a better actress than Kathryn Bernardo. I know that comparison is not necessary here but with the limited choices of actors who can own this kind of material, picking Nadine was a perfect idea. Although her gestures are sometimes too matured for a such a light film, she took more than half the weight of the movie's acting requirements.
James Reid can only do so much for his character Nicko but I am seeing the improvement. There is still that awkwardness in speaking Tagalog but as usual, he can compensate with the dramatic and romantic stares. I remember that Direk Andoy Ranay kind of explained during our bloggers conference why they darkened James's complexion in the movie but I am still not convinced if they really have to do that.
'It girl' Julia Barretto is too pretty for the movie's setting. I can see her efforts in removing the sophistication, but the movie's vibrant and polished look countered that. It's not really her fault but it's a challenge to believe that she is really attending public school. It is also a surprise to see her chemistry with newcomer Iñigo Pascual.
In the successes of recent rom-coms which capitalized on simple but sincere storytelling, Para Sa Hopeless Romantic's relatable plot is ruined with the non-linear play of past and present. Moving in and out from Becca's real life to the love story that she is writing isn't seamless. There is just a lot going on.
The pivotal scenes, Rebecca and Nicko's breakup and the reuniting moments while in the middle of a school rally, are not highlighted. Those scenes happened too quick while I found myself drained with the slow pace of conversation between Becca and her mother (Teresa Loyzaga).
It may be short in merit as a film, I realized why "Para Sa Hopeless Romantic" appealed to teenagers. It is relatable to a young generation who have still to experience the more complicated triumphs and pains of love. In these characters, they see themselves. While for those who have gained wisdom brought by years of real relationships, reading the book and watching the movie may no longer be gratifying. But it is still nice to give an open mind and maybe look back at how we were when we're still learning about love.