Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Emmanuel Palo's A Moment in Time - Charm and Romantic Blunders

The first time Patrick (Coco Martin) sets his eyes on Jillian (Julia Montes) during a train ride, he couldn’t take his eyes off the cautious lass. But getting her name and meeting her were a different matter. The pretty lady is reticent with her associations, keeping mostly to her limited social circle. All she wants is to continue her studies in Amsterdam and forget a rather nebulous past.

Patrick pursues Jillian, painting her likeness on public walls and serenading the girl in her school. With such persistence, Jillian eventually gives in to Patrick’s unabashed romanticism. But unknown to Patrick, Jillian’s past isn’t so isolated from his. The young lad and his sister Mai (Ella Cruz) were orphaned three years ago when their Qatar-bound mother (Zsa zsa Padilla) was run over by a car.

What happens when Patrick finally strings their perplexing past? Will he be as gracious as his courting ways? More importantly, will he be magnanimous?

Emmanuel Palo’s “A Moment in Time” makes a cinematic discourse on the nature of love and its aptitude to exculpate fatal blunders of the past. Coating his artistic canvas with cotton candy scenography, the film is as charming as its leads. Coco Martin, after a sketchy turn in Jerome Pobocan’sBorn to Love You”, succeeds with an imprudent, if disproportionate delineation of a grieving man who pulls out all the stops to woo a dismissive girl who, it turns out, has demons of her own.

It’s refreshing to see a relaxed Coco Martin far from the teeth-gnawing rigor of melodrama. He embellishes his performance with pizzazz, imbuing the screen with wide grins and even a delightful song (Orange and Lemons’ “Umuwi Ka Na Baby”) and dance (oohlala!) scene. Julia Montes displays her considerable gravitas in a performance that becomes one of the greatest suffering heroines of the silver screen. She befittingly complements Martin’s charismatic romcom hero.

The plot is predictable at times, and there are occasional annoying strains in its narrative formation; i.e. once successful in their romantic pursuit, they always end up turning away. It’s a head scratcher really, but formula is what gives the genre its hustle.

It could have been an interesting dissertation following its earlier premise: What indeed is the face of love? But this strain gets forfeited in the narrative ruble. We don't expect mainstream cinema to go further than cursory glimpses beyond philosophical musings.

Plot contrivances are inherent in local romcoms. Regardless, “A Moment in Time” is a harmless entertainment fodder that rightfully bestows a feather in the adorably lisping Coco Martin’s romcom cup. 

As for Julia Montes, this German-Pinay beauty proves to her audience that her irrefutable boobtube success in the teleserye “Walang Hanggan” is no fluke. After all, it’s hard to argue with a full crowd who riddles the cinema atmosphere with romantic giggles. Let’s forget for a few minutes that getting a Schengen visa for a European sojourn isn't as easy – or as cheap as a P180,000 bank deposit - as they’d have you believe. 

Coco Martin bikes around Amsterdam's scenic countryside.

Julia Montes as Jillian Linden: stricken with guilt.

Coco Martin  as Patrick becomes a full-fledged romcom hero. 


Anonymous said...

i dont what the couple's problem is. is it the class difference or the fact that girl killed guy's mom?



Cathy Pena said...

@ Jason:

Julia's problem has been compounded by a couple of things: 1) that her parents don't like Coco's character because, as Cherie said, he's clearly "not the best for their daughter" (the "class difference"); 2) that she belatedly learns that the contention for her guilt was Coco's family because Julia accidentally killed their mother.

Coco's problem was that he's in love with the girl who killed his mother. Heavy, debah? :)


Anonymous said...

coz i remember one confrontation scene in amsterdam where julia was talking about her parents' disapproval of coco, and coco responding about his mother's death.

tipong, sabi ko sa isip ko, do these two characters even follow each other's train of thought when talking? hehe


Cathy Pena said...

To be quite honest, I don't recall their specific banter in Amsterdam. All I could remember was, Cherie and Gabby saw Coco twice or thrice; only one had verbal exchange - the one that had Coco packing his bags. You're right though. If they indeed talked that way, then there's an issue of coherence in the mind of the writer. Haha