Movie Review: Alone / Together

February 18, 2019

It has been a tradition of me and my mom to watch movies every Monday because that's when senior citizens can see a movie for free. Mom likes watching Filipino movies. For this week, showing in cinemas is Alone / Together featuring Liza Soberano (Christine) and Enrique Gil (Rafael), and that's what we saw today.

The movie is about this complicated relationship between two college students, wherein both have to work their priorities between dreams and the love they have for each other. It's a feel-good movie, no stressful third party whatsoever. Their worst enemy however are themselves and I believe that's the most difficult part that they have to go through. There are several things that stuck with me in this movie. In the 120 minutes run time, I escaped my reality and got sucked into their world of love, dreams, and adventure.

UPD Shooting Locations
I studied in UP Diliman. Several years after graduating, I still couldn't believe that I was able to be admitted in one of the top universities in the country. As the movie panned on sceneries of the AS lobby, the school halls, and the Sunken Garden, I can't help but feel this indescribable longing to go back. I miss the huge acacia trees, those walks in the acad oval, and especially the nights I spent stargazing with UP AstroSoc. There were also some scenes that were shot at Chocolate Kiss, that infamous restaurant at the Bahay ng Alumni, of which until now I haven't dined in. It was common knowledge among students that the cakes were great there, but expensive at the same time. I never set foot there because I knew it was beyond my student budget. 😅 And hey it was also nice to see "Zorro", that jogger around campus wearing a mask and cape, still running around doing high-fives with random joggers around. 

Business Trip Side Travels
I felt very much for Christine during her New York explorations. I enjoy doing side trips when business traveling. It's been a while since I did one (ehem hello bosses!). I love going to new places and exploring new things with my colleagues. My best memories would always be that California trip with Krishan. He's the best travel buddy ever! 

Raf's Confession in New York
During their NY trip, I was getting uncomfortable at what this film was showing the audience. Both of the characters were in a relationship, but here they are pretending to be lovers again in the city that never sleeps. I didn't like it. I didn't want that message that it's okay to cheat even though it's temporary, even though it's only for a few days. So when Raf was about to tell Christine what he did before he went to NY, I held my breath. Within that few-second pause, I was praying to the Universe that he'll say the words I wanted to hear. With a huge sigh of relief, I heard them. Raf told Christine that he had broken up with Aly (her girlfriend) before traveling to New York. I was so glad that line was said by the guy, which proves that he's loyal with just one woman, and technically for me, he's not cheating. This was so important for me because I have first-hand witnessed relationships and families being broken apart because of cheaters. That NY trip made me remember something that happened in real life: two unforbidden lovers secretly going on a trip abroad together (girl, we knew you were with him....we had our means of knowing. we always knew). This movie is such a roller coaster ride of emotions. Did they end up together in the end? You'll have to see the film to find out. 😉

Pursuing Noble Passions
Raf indeed became a doctor. However he didn't choose to work in some modern hospital in the city. Instead, he chose to be charitable and served the poor who needed more health care, even going to more remote areas and working to build hospitals there. As for Christine, she still pursued her passion for the Arts and I could just feel how fulfilling it was for her to finally walk the right path to achieve her museum curator dreams. I hope this film promotes this kind of path. I might not be speaking for myself  (I studied Computer Science because I love working on logic and solving puzzles, not because I knew the industry would boom in the future), but for current and future Arts students. It's not an easy path (I think). It's easy to just be content and become corporate slaves (😅), but if it's their passion to be in the Arts field, I hope they truly pursue it. I also liked that the movie featured museums, especially the Spoliarium masterpiece. I hope because of this film, more people would have interest in visiting our local museums like the National Museum.

There were some other random scenes that I really liked and stuck with me:

  • Christine's mom was sleeping on the sofa waiting for her to arrive home. She was lying sideways on the sofa. This is exactly what my mom does whenever me or my sister comes home late. My mom and I shared silent sniggers in the cinema during this scene. 😂
  • I love all the scenes with the professor. I super liked his character. It made me remember those passionate professors back in college. I also liked his lines talking to Christine: 'Iskolar ka ng bayan, pera ng bayan nagpaaral sayo tapos maga-abroad ka?' This statement cuts deep through my soul and fills me with guilt whenever I think of pursuing a career abroad. For my case, I'm not just a UP scholar, I also enjoyed the benefits of being a DOST scholar. I earned my college education totally free, even got monthly stipends on top of it. Even though our tuition fee back then was just around 8,000PHP, my family wouldn't be able to afford it. That's why I am forever indebted to the Filipino taxpayers. 😭 This movie brought back memories of my college life and how I studied very hard (blood and tears were shed) to be able to graduate on time.
  • A graduation with rallies is a standard in UP. This is the time most of the government officers are on stage, and so is the perfect moment for 'tibak' students to raise their concerns, shouting their cries and raising placards bearing words of protests at their faces. During my stay in UPD, I've only been in one rally, and it's for a cause I truly wanted to fight for (TOFI in 2007). I remember our crowd went around the AS halls and asked the students (yes in the middle of classes) to come out and join us. Our crowd went as far as Mendiola. After doing a program (there were some police nearby 😨), we dispersed peacefully and went back to campus.

I enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would, maybe because of all the nostalgia it brought to me. This is a love story, but I connected beyond that. I didn't have any relationship during college. I was too focused with studies. I was studying a very challenging course and I was maintaining a scholarship. Boys were totally out of the question.😅 Sometimes I feel some regret because I took things too seriously back then. Oh well, past is past. I'll never be where I am now if I didn't do the things I did in the past. Just like Taylor Swift said:

Without your past,
you could never have arrived-
so wondrously and brutally,
By design or some violent, exquisite happenstance

- excerpt from Why She Disappeared 

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