In Focus: Mr. And Mrs. Cruz

Two brokenhearted singles serendipitously meet in Palawan and develop an unexpected romance.

Comparable to the approach and themes of both Jadaone’s That Thing Called Tadhana and Bernardo’s own Kita Kita, Mr. and Mrs. Cruz follows the template of the so-called “hugot films” – an emerging romance subgenre that resonates well with the sensibilities of Millennials. In fact, it seems to shadow Tadhana blow by blow, from surprising meetings, to building friendships, to love confessions, up to the bitter but hopeful conclusion. If Kita Kita has the picture as the narrative device that links the couple, this has the video. Taken from this perspective, this movie isn’t exactly groundbreaking or original.

But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad film; it’s actually a very enjoyable one with rootable, charismatic leads. At the core, this is about two people wanting to find peace by reliving their most painful memories. Like a modern Pinoy version of Before Sunrise, it’s a delight to watch them exchange their often opposite views on marriage, love, and tragedy scene after scene. Ryza Cenon and JC Santos’ naturalistic acting works in making their characters lifelike and relatable.

If you’re a fan of Jadaone or Bernardo, there’s absolutely no reason to miss Mr. and Mrs. Cruz. The animated audience reaction says it all: At least for now, the hugot film is here to stay.

Random Notes (SPOILERS BELOW)

  • A film that stars Cinemalaya 2017 winners Dido dela Paz and Yayo Aguila? Count me in!
  • It’s been a long time coming for Ryza Cenon. This might be her biggest break yet. Congrats to her! She sometimes eats her words though.
  • The film’s biggest strength are its funny witticisms. There’s a bag of chips, Nemo, and Romeo and Juliet just for starters.
  • I’m not sure how it works nowadays, but most Puerto Princesa/El Nido tours come with accommodations.
  • I see no reason for the couple not to exchange numbers and leave everything up to fate. But hey, the Before series spawned two sequels, right?

Image credit: When In Manila

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