Based on a PETA musical of the same name, Changing Partners explores the last moments of Alex and Cris’ deteriorating romantic relationship. Agot Isidro and Jojit Lorenzo share the Alex role, while Anna Luna and Sandino Martin share Cris’. This unique proposition allows the actors to rotate partners, showing heterosexual and homosexual permutations of essentially the same plotline.
In doing so, the movie depicts the universality of relationships. Gay, lesbian, and straight share the same fundamental tenets – trust, honesty, patience, and respect – something not exactly seen in Philippine cinemas.
Adding another layer of complexity is the 15-year age gap between the couple. Essentially at different stages of their lives, Alex wants to always be in control, while Cris suffers from the typical millennial superficiality. Although they try to adjust to each other’s needs, it obviously takes a toll on their relationship, further aggravated by Alex’s growing jealousy of Cris’ mysterious friend Angel.
It’s interesting to observe some nuances in the conversations of the pairings. The Jojo-Sandino one stands out, especially when they discussed a controversial camping trip, although I feel the Jojo-Anna combo could have used some additional scenes to make it more memorable.
Characters bursting into song can take a bit of getting used to, but once you get past that, the movie starts to grow on you. I hope this gets a wide release, as it’s possibly the most important queer film to come out in recent years.