In Focus: One Great Love

Regal Films has produced a huge library of classic drama-romance films in its 50-year history. Who would forget Iisa Pa Lamang (1992), Sinungaling Mong Puso (1992), and Sugatang Puso (2000)? As such, the expectations are inevitably high for its latest MMFF offering, One Great Love.

Zyra (Kim Chiu) is an up-and-coming entrepreneur who reunites with her ex Carl (JC de Vera) while being pursued by best friend Ian (Dennis Trillo). The plot follows Zyra as she makes sense of her feelings for both men.

The film kicks off fairly intriguing, thanks to notable performances from the three main actors. But as it progresses, we begin to notice their grossly one-dimensional characters put their talents to waste. Ian is the archetypal selfless lovesick fellow who’s secretly in love with his best friend. Carl is the confident, cocky, narcissistic go-getter who doesn’t take no for an answer. And Zyra, “poor” Zyra, is your confused maiden who doesn’t want to truly let go of either up until she is forced to do so in the very end. The problem is that all three of them start and end the movie with little to no development. I can’t blame the audience for growing weary of watching Zyra commit the same mistake over and over again. So frustrated were the viewers in my screening that we let out a collective sigh when she decided to give it a go with Carl a third time.

The question here is, for what purpose? Without a doubt, it’s for Zyra to realize who her one great love is, how it feels to love then lose her one great love, and what she should do to fight for her one great love. Regal isn’t shy of shoving this down our throats in the promos – and even in the movie itself where around five times did characters try to explain what one great love is as a classic case of heavy-handed telling instead of showing.

So what exactly is one great love as defined by One Great Love? It’s who Zyra chooses to marry, which is a rather simplistic conclusion that contradicts everything that has been discussed and done in the film. Even the reasoning behind Zyra’s final choice doesn’t feel like her choosing her one great love, making the whole exercise of problematizing the concept so utterly pointless.

With a runtime of almost 120 minutes, One Great Love is one painful, unsatisfying time-waster. If only Zyra’s little sister snapped her out of her madness sooner, we would have had to suffer for 105 minutes less.

Directed by: Enrico S. Quizon
Starring: Kim Chiu, Dennis Trillo, JC de Vera

Random notes (SPOILERS BELOW)

  • I mentioned “one great love” 13 times in this review!
  • Is it so hard for Zyra to just acknowledge that Carl is her one great love after enduring so much for him? Being her one great love doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll end up together anyway. Zyra is Ian’s one great love though, that’s for sure.
  • One other evidence of telling instead of showing is Zyra’s fondness for monologue. Very disturbing for a woman her age.
  • Is the death of Zyra and Ian’s daughter meant to serve as a catalyst for Zyra’s reunion with Carl? It doesn’t feel like that to me and in fact the whole incident became a non-issue the moment the extramarital affair began.
  • Having seen both Dennis Trillo’s and Eddie Garcia’s performances, I can see why Dennis won, as he had a lot of emotional scenes toward the second half.
  • Kim Chiu looks uncomfortable in her love scenes with Dennis and JC. She needs to find her inner confidence if she wants challenging projects in her 30s.
  • Are there any redeeming qualities? Acting and techs are generally fine, so I don’t have an issue with production as a whole.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *