Image courtesy of www.mb.com
Main Cast: Daniel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo
Director: Olivia M. Lamasan
MTRCB Rating: PG
Released By: Star Cinema
Shooting a film out of the country is getting to be the in thing for local filmmakers these days. Aldub’s Imagine You and Me was shot in Italy, Jadine’s This Time in Japan, and now, Kathniel has Barcelona, Spain in its latest starrer.
Barcelona: A Love Untold, is the comeback movie of Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo to the big screen and their first under director Olivia Lamasan.
The movie attempts to ’recreate ’ Daniel and Kathryn in a love story sans the usual sweet and innocent roles, supposedly to show how much the 5-year old love team has evolved through the years.
In the movie, Ely (Daniel) is a student in Barcelona pursuing further studies in Architecture while engaged in three (3) jobs as a tour guide, waiter and photographer to support himself and provide for his family back home. He lives with his aunt (Aiko Melendez) and her son Tonying (Joshua Garcia ) while estranged with his wealthy biological mother (Isabel Lopez) who also lives in Barcelona.
Ely meets the troubled Mia who goes to Spain to escape some personal issues in the Philippines that had antagonized her relationship with her strict father (Ricky Davao). Unfortunately, she would be faced with more trouble in Barcelona. Coming from a privileged background, Mia is at a loss and can’t cope as an OFW doing menial jobs and hard labor. About to surrender to her fate, Ely helps and guides her in a big way.
There are so many issues to untangle in this movie. Apart from Ely’s falling out with his mother, for example, he struggles to get over a relationship gone bad with a girl named Celine, who interestingly or oddly, looks a lot like Mia. This plot makes a turning point as it inches and weaves its way into the story.
The movie suffers from an overload of drama, too much unnecessary tears that it creates some kind of a ’disconnect ’. There are so many issues going on in the characters’ lives that are confusing to the viewer, showing one dramatic scene after another without really justifying how they came about. It seems that they are interwoven with each other, sorely lacking in nuances - like a piece of this and that, here and there, without real substantial justification.
There is a heavy confrontation scene in the movie between Aiko and her son that was a bit off. After all the shouting and verbal assaults thrown at each other, mother and son suddenly kiss and make up immediately after Ely’s very quick lecture. How awkward can that get?
The film ’though is truthful in its portrayal of Ely and Mia as OFW’s or overseas Filipino workers. Their hard toil in a foreign land, living with and embracing an unfamiliar culture, while coping with personal issues, legal constraints, financial problems and the challenge of dealing with (sometimes insensitive) family back home.
Ely and Mia’s romance gives the film the much-needed breather… and excitement for the fans, too. Barcelona is a perfect place for the couple amid the changing lights and colors at Magic Fountain of Montjuc and their walks along the streets surrounding the world famous temple, Sagrada Familia.
But despite some flaws, director Lamasan succeeds in bringing out the improved actor in Daniel Padilla. Compared to Kathryn, Daniel delivered more in this film. His eyes and movements say it, revealing maturity and experience. Kathryn’s acting on the other hand struggles but lacks depth, it has yet to reach that "leading lady" level. But who knows, it might not be for long. Perhaps, a stronger commitment to her craft will nail the difference. Ditto if Kathryn knows how to make use of her naturally beautiful face - then that will be a big plus.
The movie’s highlight is saved for last for the fans to smile and savor for all its worth.
Barcelona: A Love Untold also stars Ana Abad-Santos, Ana Capri, Cris Villanueva, Joey Marquez, Liza Diño, Melizza Jimenez, Patrick Sugui, now showing in cinemas.