Instead of filling the heads of their audience with a hefty dose of fairy-tale like fantasy, The Achy Breaky Hearts breaks down most single, marrying age women’s prince charming dreams with a splash of cold and harsh reality. That a prince charming may come, but sometimes, a prince is not what a princess actually needs.
Blockbuster Hugot director and screenwriter Antoinette Jadaone has once again created a protagonist who takes control of her life (That Thing Called Tadhana and Beauty in a Bottle) by making conscious—though sometimes flawed—decisions in her life.
Chinggay, played by Jodi Sta. Maria, is the borderline spinster jewelry store manager who is often asked when she plans to settle down. With the people around her “pressuring” her to get married, Chinggay opens herself to the idea of actively searching for “The One.”
But, instead of finding just one, Chinggay meets two.
There’s the loyal and “taken” Ryan, played by Ian Veneracion, whom she met while he was shopping for an engagement ring for his cheating girlfriend played by Sarah Lahbati. Then there’s Chinggay’s successful and returning, unfaithful ex-boyfriend Frank, played by Richard Yap, whom she meets after taking the slot of her friend at an investment seminar.
The conflict ensues soon as Chinggay realizes that she’s torn between the dreamy stranger who pursues her or the go-getter, familiar face that once owned and broke her heart.
Direk Tonette once again showcased her unparalleled observing skills by tackling such a common yet not much discussed topic in the local scene about the society imposed “marrying age” for women.
Although there were still a few of the typical rom-com elements on the film, like a diverse clique (composed of Desiree del Valle, Denise Joaquin, and Erika Padilla) and a solid family (composed of Shamaine Buencamino and Miles Ocampo) for the female protagonist, she made sure to incorporate her signature “empowered woman” approach to Chinggay.
Sure Chinggay was initially all about finding her man just for the sake of settling down (and just so she would have someone to chat about with her inquisitive co-tita girl pals) she eventually realized that happiness does not reside in other people but herself. This realization did not come easy though as Chinggay once again ended up breaking her heart by assuming that she and Ryan had a “something” only to find out that such is not the case.
Jodi, who was able to show her rom-com acting skills during last year’s Metro Manila Film Festival entry All You Need is Pag-ibig opposite Ian, has obviously gotten better in TABH. The nuances that she gave chatty Chinggay made her a appeal like a forever smitten lady who seems in love with love.
But, along with this, Jodi also made sure that the audience would share her confusion as to who to choose between the two, particularly during Chinggay’s confrontation with Frank at the movie’s latter part. Naturally the film was about Chinggay and Jodi truly did an impeccable job on the film.
Team Chinoy and Team Tisoy fans will have a grand time ogling at Richard and Ian who both looked exceptionally handsome on the film. Team Chinoys though would have to watch out for a certain pool scene.
What especially made the film fun was how it created an adorable “division” between the Team Chinoys and Team Tisoys soon as it was announced months back. Despite this, the movie’s plot has allowed both men to equally shine (think of the hospital scene while the two are on the way to Chinggay’s room) and flounder (confrontation scenes with both Ryan and Frank) somewhere in the film. Such treatment has allowed, not only the audience, but also Chinggay the chance to think her decision through.
Overall, the film was a fun watch; especially with the way Direk Tonette highlighted the chemistry of JodIan and JoChard tandems.
However underneath the veil of cuteness and kilig, the movie puts across a strong message that could hit the “kelan kana magaasawa?” members of the society, as well as the single women who are feeling hopeless and unloved while on the prescribed “marrying age.” The film underscores that happiness does not come with commitment alone and that being alone is sometimes a choice that people deliberately make.
Catch The Achy Breaky Hearts in cinemas nationwide starting June 29.