Quick Take: Open

Open caused a stir by bringing to light non-normative, non-monogamous relationships. The bewilderment, shock, and confusion of moviegoers inside the theater I watched in was so palpable that there’s no doubt this JC-Arci starrer emerged as the most controversial film in PPP.

Almost immediately, we take the side of Rome (Arci Munoz) – a long-frustrated girlfriend whose identity and life choices have depended on her boyfriend of 14 years, Ethan (JC Santos). Haunted by a previous case of infidelity, she can’t seem to fully trust him and he’s fed up with her constantly reminding him of his mistakes. Both are breathing on each other’s necks. No passion. Bad sex.

Ethan, with not-so-innocent motives, proposes an open setup to try to save the relationship. It’s obvious that he has self-serving reasons in requesting such a jarring change from his girlfriend, who’s somehow backed to a corner into agreement.

And I think that’s where the film’s problem lies. On one hand, it largely telegraphs the ending. You know early on where it’s all headed and it’s not pretty. At the same time, there’s almost no way that open relationships can be presented as anything but negative by association with Ethan. The divide between the traditional and loyal woman versus the pragmatic and experimental man is just too blatant for there to be any message other than to discourage open relationships. They both take away the enjoyment of watching the film unfold.

Despite this, there’s no denying how affecting Open is, thanks to its lead actors. JC is a PPP three-peater and every year he surprises me with what he can do as an actor. Ethan will emerge as his most hated character for sure! Arci goes through a full range of emotions to give justice to her role as Rome and she delivers. She makes her feel authentic and relatable. Ina Raymundo has a breakout stint that reminds us why she’s the one and only Sabado Nights girl.

Open certainly toys around with the idea of open relationships enough to give a taste of the highs, lows, and thrills. But it doesn’t build a good case to change minds.