Review: San Dati (2013, Jerrold Tarog)

q4zfRATING: 9/10

Director: Jerrold Tarog
Cast: Lovi Poe, Paulo Avelino, Benjamin Alves, TJ Trinidad & Ria Garcia
Screenplay: Jerrold Tarog

Sorry it took me a while to review this movie, but I really needed time to think about it. I didn’t want to jump into my emotions and write a review purely based on that. But still, I still feel the same way I did when I first saw “Sana Dati”. My heart has fallen because no other Filipino movie has touched me as much as Jerrold Tarog’s lovely story about “moving on”. The performances the film boasts surprised me so much, and has so much to do with how good the movie turned out to be. Of course, Tarog helmed the entire picture and has left me emotional and inspired.

The story of “San Dati” unravels in mystery form, even though that it is somewhat of a romance. I most definitely won’t spoil anything big about it because this film deserves a regular theatrical run and of course, a DVD release. Hopefully, someone will be able to read this review and push for that because I will be the first one at the DVD store. It tells the story of Adrea Gonzaga (Lovi Poe) set to marry a man whom she doesn’t know if she loves or not (TJ Trinidad). Enter, a young 21 year old wedding videographer (Paulo Avelino) whose mysterious presence turns Andrea’s whole wedding in disarray.

What charged “Sana Dati” to become a good movie was the format of it’s storytelling. Though we have the entire linear story play out during the single day of Andrea’s wedding, we enter the world of flashbacks that shows us Andrea’s past life and love. The structure is perfect for this storytelling. Though I’ve heard some people claim that they thought the movies weakest part was its pacing, I really beg to differ. There’s no other way to stretch out the story of something that happens in just one day. I thought it was perfect.

Lovi Poe’s performance is possibly her best work to date in any format of anything. Not only is she extremely good in the movie, she looked absolutely stunning. Her beauty, however, managed to make the character more believable. She became the object of everybody’s desire in the film, making her rather objectified in the film, but not cancelling out the emotions her character feels. Her character had the biggest role because without her there’s no plot. Props to Tarog for making it seem like she was an object, but still never at all neglecting her as a strong female lead performance that carried the film on her shoulders.

The men in the movie, balanced her out. Avelino was perfect as the silent and bothered young videographer, he acted with his eyes and troubled voice. Trinidad was memorable. And Alves was properly casted. Tarog shaped the performances into something special. He truly managed to let his vision work and his writing is almost perfect. I don’t have to say anything about the cinematography because from the first shot to the end, its photography was by far a quality of the film that makes it the most memorable images of CINEMALAYA this year. Two thumbs up for my new favourite Filipino movie of all time. This needs a DVD release ASAP!

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