In Focus: The Significant Other

After last MMFF’s Siargao, Erich Gonzales is back in the lead role in The Significant Other. The film also stars Lovi Poe and Tom Rodriguez who previously worked together in GMA’s Someone To Watch Over Me.

In this Star Cinema release, Edward and Maxene (played by Tom and Lovi) are a couple who’s been secretly married for several years. He’s a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon, while she’s a veteran model aspiring for a comeback. The demands of the latter’s career has had a toll in their relationship. Enter Erich’s Nicole, a provincial lass trying her luck in Manila. She catches the eye of Edward and befriends Maxene without knowing the real score between the two.

Ever since it was made popular in contemporary films by No Other Woman (2011), it seems that all possible permutations and combinations of the third party angle have already been explored. Pinoys have come to expect catty face-offs, hugot lines, and sarcasm from the characters, especially the women. Looking from this angle, The Significant Other checks all the boxes. The fact that it’s set in the glamorous world of modeling makes it a melting pot of witticisms. Supporting players Snooky Serna, Dina Bonnevie, and Ricci Chan ham it up and add to the campiness of the material.

Then again, I quite like how it spent more time building the friendship rather than the rivalry of the two female leads. Maxene became Nicole’s de facto mentor and you see how she genuinely wants to help the budding model, which makes the ultimate discovery all the more painful. I also found commendable that the film ended in a mature, realistic manner.

While it doesn’t bring anything new to the table, the reason to watch this film are the magnetic performances of the leads. Erich Gonzales has mastered the art of playing the “everywoman,” injecting a certain relatability to Nicole’s naiveté. Lovi Poe shines in intense dramatic scenes. Tom Rodriguez surprised me of his charismatic screen presence. These alone are worth the price of a movie ticket.

Random Notes (SPOILERS BELOW)

  • The promo for this film included write-ups about Erich and Lovi hurting each other on set. Perhaps some real-life drama to ignite more interest? Not needed at all – I watched on the first night to a jam-packed cinema.
  • It’s always refreshing to see actors from different networks collaborate on movie projects. Film outfits should do this more often!
  • Not sure if models in the Philippines can become that famous without them being actors. Also not sure if there really was a need for Maxene to hide her pregnancy and marriage. I bet a lot of people already know.
  • It felt contrived to insert “the significant other” in the script. Cringey at best.
  • The reasoning behind Edward cheating with Nicole is pretty weak. Makes me think this isn’t the first time he fooled around with another woman.
  • While the film is sexy, some kissing scenes are awkwardly choreographed.

1 thought on “In Focus: The Significant Other”

  1. Sorry not my cup of tea. I have seen better and sexier love triangle films. Everything about the movie smells, looks, sounds CHEAP! Definitely not Joel Lamangan’s genre. He should stick to films that deal with the lives of the poor.

    I can imagine the late Joey Gosiengfiao and Elwood Perez doing a much better job. The movie could have be campier with a touch of class!

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