After watching the much-talked-about movie, Bride for Rent (yes, I’m a little late, I know), I realized that Filipino love stories, in general, follow a few classic formulas. Before I watched this movie, I didn’t read its synopsis or watched the trailer. I just went with my hunch regarding its plot and why, I was right.
Judging from the title, Bride for Rent, I told myself that it may be a story about a guy who’s going to inherit a huge amount of money if he gets married. He finds a girl who’s willing to play the part, didn’t plan to fall in love, but fell in love anyway. I even guessed the conflicts correctly: girl will feel bad because she feels used, guy will eventually fall in love but the girl has another secret that gets in the way, one of them swears that the feeling was real, and not just acting. The other won’t believe, and will be wooed in the end. Well, my hypothesis was accurate.
Here is a poor, quirky girl. Here is a rich, brooding, maldito guy. Have you ever seen this in any of our teleserye’s expositions? Of course! Even our teleseryes use this as the initial set-up! How about this: a guy owns or runs a company and the girl works as his maid/ secretary. Familiar? Of course! We’ve seen that so many times.
It’s sad that we have to subscribe to these clichés all the time. And what’s more, they’re sexist. But trust me, I won’t make this a feminist post. Swear. I’ll calm down. Anyway, why can’t we make a love story about gays and their struggles? How about having a rich girl this time, an equal, and have their love story revolve around having wrong priorities? We can’t always play the class difference as the ONLY source of conflict. Or about a single mother falling in love with a college student? Come on!
Are we not paying our writers enough that they’d have to recycle plots? Do we not strive to revolutionize media? Where is the desire to delight our audience, to make them think critically, and to get them to remember you and your production after a long time?
Don’t get me wrong. I think there are a few brilliantly written love story movies in our time. Take “One More Chance” as an example. What’s beautiful about that movie is the lines are realistic, the story is realistic, and the acting was superb. Another good example is “The Mistress”, where the twists keep you gripping on your seat and will make you hold your breath until the ending. The common denominator of these movies is that they all look real. They are very relatable. I liked “Unofficially Yours” too. I think that commitment-phobes are everywhere, and yes, not all women aspire for marriage. What I just didn’t like about that movie is how Angel Locsin pranced around in stilettos all the time. And get this: she was a newspaper reporter. Sorry, I’m nitpicking.
I watched “Miss You Like Crazy”, “She’s the One” and other famous Star Cinema love stories too. They are entertaining and I still get kilig. However, the feeling that I feel afterwards is more of an “it’s nice but I know it won’t happen in real life”. So it’s just pure entertainment, for an hour. I think I watched all bigwig Star Cinema love stories, but it’s surprising how I couldn’t remember the titles of the other movies. That’s because they never left an impact, unlike “One More Chance” and “The Mistress”.
So, Philippine cinema, can we please make better love stories? Please?