After reading raves about the movie on Facebook (some even saw it more than once at the cinemas) I decided to watch No Other Woman myself. If anything goes wrong, I told myself, a story on infidelity is always entertaining. By default. And the mere presence of Derek Ramsay onscreen would be another consolation.
And so I asked a dear friend of mine to watch the movie with me and see what the fuss is all about.
No Other Woman, released by the country's leading local mainstream movie production house, Star Cinema, stars three sexy actors: Derek Ramsay, as the philandering husband; Cristine Reyes, as the wife; and Anne Curtis, as the other woman.
We sometimes watch movies to see beautiful people, and No Other Woman has made sure of that: Ramsay looked more chiseled and toned than ever, looking like the perfect male specimen; Anne Curtis was groomed to the maximum level of hotness (the long, wavy, volumized hair, the barely there swimsuits, and outfits that maximize her sexiness to its full potential); and Cristine Reyes was made to look too pretty, with her own brand of sexiness.
But what about the story? It is well-structured. Quick-paced with no unnecessary frills or ridiculously boring long shots. No, it's not boring. And it is emotionally engaging hugely because we can relate one way or another-- either we have loved, cheated, or cheated at, at some point in our lives. And the cast had chemistry. However, there's nothing unique about the story or the plot. Even the actors are generic: a good-looking husband, the pretty housewife, and the hot other woman. The film simply portrays love and desire and the effects of infidelity-- but it will hold your attention, nonetheless.
I have read one novel on infidelity, wherein the wife was gorgeous and the other woman looked plain and easy to look at-- still the good-looking husband had an affair with the plain-looking girl. The novel, though, delved deeper into the psychology behind cheating and why women sometimes fall for married men. They were presented equally: all three of them flawed, human and weak. All victims. In No Other Woman, there wasn't much to explain: Curtis is too hot for Ramsay to resist, and Ramsay is a salesman/former playboy. It just triggers the question whether all men are polygamous by default. Actually, the movie suggests that a monogamous man does not exist. And we are just there to watch the movie and feel the drama unfold in such a situation.
|Cristine Reyes plays Cha, the pretty nouveau rich wife.|
In No Other Woman, directed by Ruel Santos Bayani, the problem was the performance by some of the supporting actors and the extras. A film should not only focus on the performance of the main stars, but down to the nameless nurse with the one line. Poor acting, even from the extras, loses the film's credibility. Extras and supporting actors are all part of the movie and have the obligation to perform with quality. Otherwise, a movie loses its "touch of reality." It makes things feel fake. This is not a classroom play, anyway; this is a major feature film that's supposed to provide real acting craft. Even Ramsay's best buddy in the movie only acted through words, never in the eyes. It makes one cringe to hear or watch a subpar performance in a film, particularly in a drama, because it's supposed to reel you inside its world.
|Derek Ramsey and Anne Curtis play with fire.|
The natural in the film was Derek Ramsay, who smoothly transformed into his role; he was believable and convincing. As well as the veteran Tirso Cruz III, who played Curtis' father. The movie was 80% in English, and only Derek Ramsay was easy and comfortable to listen to since he's a native English speaker. Anne Curtis, though, in her role as a liberated former New Yorker, went a bit overboard with her role; she was too theatrical, injecting too much sultriness in her voice and too much throaty laughter and aggressive movements, and she was a tad more unnatural with her American English accent than her already unnatural English accent, lolling and rolling the English words in her tongue so unnaturally that it irks me. On the other hand, Cristine Reyes, who skips between good and bad acting in the film, apparently speaks unsophisticated English, but it was justified by the filmmakers in the movie, giving her a role as the daughter of a nouveau rich family-- meaning, rich but with no class and sophistication. Her mother, played by Carmi Martin, is a former wet market vendor who accumulated an immense wealth. New money, so to speak. That's why even Reyes' sister in the movie, although dressed in shiny, dazzling and expensive outfit, was made to speak like a "palenkera" for consistency, even going so far as to declare in the movie (obviously for clarity's sake) that they are, actually, nouveau rich, what with all their flashy and gold furniture.
But what made the film emotionally engaging was not only because of its direct-to-the-point screenplay and engaging dialogue, but also the main actors' emotional expressions. The subtleties, like the mere glances, the tensing of the muscles, the suspcicious looks, the guilty eyes and the quivering lips...the body language accurately captured, exploding with meaning. And the appropriate close-up shots and cinematography needed to emotionally connect with the viewers were there, as well as the quick, dramatic tears that fall easily from the actors' eyes in perfect timing. This, on top of a quick-paced screenplay, has made the movie---despite its flaws and ordinary plot---passably good.
Philippine mainstream movie, you are almost there.
3 out of 5 stars