FIVE BREAKUPS AND A ROMANCE (2023) Review
Directed by Irene Villamor
Fate? Destiny? Love at first sight? Quantum entanglement? Whatever you call it, Five Breakups and a Romance tells the inexplicable connection between Lance and Justine – two completely different people, having no plans of being part of each others’ lives but there’s this invisible string that pulls them together.
It’s quite different from Irene Villamor’s past romance movies. This one actually tackles two people that are in a relationship while her past works are two people who should be in a relationship but can’t because of the circumstances they are in. But the material she chose or the end product of the material feels lacking of how the audience can fully embrace and relate to the characters.
Five Breakups and a Romance. The film, in chapters tells literally the five breakups of Justine (Julia Montes) and Lance (Alden Richards) in their romantic relationship. While Singapore as the backdrop of its opening, of how they met, is magical, I feel that it lacks moments where you can truly feel the connection between the two leads solid. That the two and the audience are sure that Justine and Lance are in love.
There’s definitely chemistry between Montes and Richards. They’ve successfully reinvented themselves that I can’t see or feel any of their past roles in TV or film here in Five Breakups and a Romance. But more than their chemistry, they really shown how talented they are here. They’ve shown how their characters progress and how their characters mature satisfyingly.
One of the things I love about the movie though is how it presents the love that isn’t evolving, a love that’s sure of itself in the moment it was develop. Meaning the moment Justine and Lance felt their love for each other, they see themselves as that forever. Not changing, not evolving, not maturing. You can’t dismiss the love because it truly is there but they’re holding on to that idea of love, the romance and being free together, when it was developed that’s why relationship doesn’t work.
There’s this one chapter about the pandemic. I only realized this on my second watch but I love how everything that’s happening during the first months of the pandemic, thousands dying, forced Justine and Lance to reconnect. The urgency of being afraid of dying or losing the one you love without getting their forgiveness or at least talking to them one last time, is something that warms my heart. It’s just that that moment needed to be more obvious than it should be.
I wanted to know more about the romance so I can understand fully the breakups, so I can fully feel the pain of the breakups. But Five Breakups and a Romance understands its characters. While it may lack presenting more growth for them, there’s undeniable maturity in its writing and there are touching moments that’s relatable not just for people in relationships but for everyone.
3 OUT OF 5 STARS
‘Five Breakups and a Romance’ is now showing in cinemas nationwide from GMA Pictures, Cornerstone Studios and MYRIAD Entertainment. Rated PG by the MTRCB.