‘Third World Romance’ Review: Romance story grounded by the realities of today

Directed by Dwein Baltazar

Other movie blogger friends asked me if I liked Dwein Baltazar’s latest movie ‘Third World Romance.’ I answered with conviction, yes. Because this is that rare movie or story that we get to see ordinary people with their ordinary lives nothing extra special but the thing that makes that special is that the challenges that the characters in the film face is extraordinary. At least for them.

It’s the little things that count. When you have least of what others have, when you only have is yourself, you can see clearly the little things that really count. The little things people do to show their concern, the little things that make us smile and the little things that warm our hearts.

The film talks about the dreams in life, the dreams in a relationship individually and as a pair. What’s great about it is that these dreams aren’t lost in translation along the way. Once established, you get to see the progress and the idleness or at times descent in the dreams of Britney (Dizon) and Alvin (Aquino). It’s very Filipino when it comes to problems that are inherited from your family. You keep doing the best you can in life but there will always come another problem that’s whether you want it or not, is passed on to you. And you have no choice, because it’s family.

People may find all these themes “pa-woke” or too much especially during these times that most prefer escapism when it comes to movies. But what made Third World Romance a stand out is that it proved that it can be both: relevant and a way to escape.

The romance angle is what you might want for escapism. While Alvin is that knight in shining armor character every damsel in distress wants, the story doesn’t forget how to be grounded on the realities surrounding them. But we get to see Britney and Alvin develop in a natural way, in spite and despite of the circumstances surrounding them, Alvin chooses to be bigger than that and Britney saw that, she felt that. And when they kissed, even me as an audience knew it feels right, it was the right time.

It’s hard to love, or it’s hard to have a relationship in this economy, especially for the lower class. Working two jobs isn’t enough for some. And Britney is bold enough to point out the issues in the system. Fuck the system, fuck those in power. But at one point, she knows she have to take it all in and be part of the issues of the system because she has to live and she has her mother to support.

This is the movie about ordinary Filipinos with extraordinary challenges. It tells a story that we don’t get to see often on the big screen or even on TV because it’s ordinary. But ordinary as it may be, it’s still special because they are honest and true.

Charlie Dizon’s strong character, Carlo Aquino’s charming and people pleaser character and Dwein Baltazar’s direction made Third World Romance more than just relateable, it helps you see further the problems of the working class.

It doesn’t go big visually or in terms of the characters’ conflict but what makes Third World Romance special is that it’s grounded by the realities of today.


‘Third World Romance’ is now showing in cinemas nationwide from Black Sheep and ANIMA. Rated PG by the MTRCB.

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