Between Maybes: Movie Review

"Between Maybes" had the same problematic formula that we have seen Filipino romance drama films encounter recently. Visually stunning, the films revolves and anchors itself around its idyllic setting more than developing its narrative and characters more.
Hazel Ilagan (Julia Barretto) is an actress who is seeing her career go down the drain as her popularity is slowly waning. Pressured by the people around her especially her parents, Hazel, on a sudden and emotional whim, decides to go on a sabbatical to Japan to de-stress. The unplanned decision eventually backfires as she finds herself lost in Saga, Japan. Luckily she bumps into Louie Puyat (Gerald Anderson), a Filipino-Japanese, who helps her find her way around the area. The quiet and idyllic life helps Hazel reflect about her career, her life, and her future. As expected, the two becomes closer as each day passes by. Soon they have to decide if their very brief yet special relationship is worth sacrificing everything else in their lives.
The premise of "Between Maybes" had a lot of potential. It takes into account the rarely seen side of being a celebrity - not only handling the fans - but also the pressures of being the provider and breadwinner of your family at such an early age. Sadly, "Between Maybes" failed to latch onto this substantially better topic and instead decides to be laser focused on delivering a formulaic romance story. Like similar films in the genre of recent, it seemed the film was banking on its stunning setting and cinematography to provide a sense of depth and quality to it. But besides the skin deep script designed to tug at your emotions, there's almost nothing in the film that really had us hooked in. Things will develop in an unbelievably fast pace and in a matter of days, two strangers become lovers contemplating living-in. This rushed development not only impacts the story but the characters themselves. Conflicts and past burdens will suddenly pop out of thin air just to make a particular scene more climactic. With its disjointed story, we wished the film instead stuck to the basics since regardless of its twists and turns, it still ended up being generic at the end of it all. The complications just became more burdensome than helpful. Surprisingly, the film did have an unconventional ending although it came a little bit too late for obvious reasons - because it was the very last scene. If you want a film to transport you to Japan then "Between Maybes" might actually float your boat - just don't expect anything more from it as a romance drama experience.
Rating: 2 reels
Why you should watch it: 
- the cinematography was stunning and captures the beauty of its setting perfectly

Why you shouldn't watch it: 
- skin deep narrative, characters, and script was formulaic and disappointing overall
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