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Review: A Secret Affair

Dale's Review:

A Secret Affair suffers from being inevitably compared to last year's No Other Woman. This is the subject of most criticism posted online. And while I have pointed out in the past how this film is more than just a clone or a wannabe, let me, for once ride along with the trend and do some comparisons myself.

Let me begin by answering the most obvious question. Which is the better film?

My personal take on this, all bias aside, is A Secret Affair. When you go beyond the idea that No Other Woman came out ahead, and just look at the merits of both movies, it would be easy to see how this has a more solid plot and how the characters are more clearly defined.

Here, the wandering guy didn't just wander off for no apparent reason. He took solace on a willing body after he was rejected by his partner. He did not even seek out a third party, the third party volunteered herself.

Andi's attraction to Derek wasn't from a contrived accidental meet-up, it has a history neatly laid out right at the start of the film which would make the viewer understand the incoming obsession.

Both Anne and Andi were given ample history which would later define their decisions throughout the film. These women did not dish out catty lines just to be horrible to each other, they have a history of hurt that serves as a motivation for their every action. Anne's mistrust that her relationship could work with a man that she loves is as justifiable as Andi forcing herself into a man that obviously does not care for her.

If anything, the film can be faulted for giving too much history. While Jacklyn Jose's personal troubles served as a guide for Anne's decisions, I think it would have sufficed that Andi narrated her story at the beginning without giving an additional scene to her parents at the later part of the film.

As far as scenes go, A Secret Affair made use of a chip on the table to convey a troubled state of a relationship. It showed us how Anne as easily and thoughtlessly said yes to a marriage proposal as she did to a cup of coffee. And when Anne shattered a glass table to an irreparable state, we are given a hint that things would not be tied up neatly together by having a main character meet an accident or drift into a coma.

In the end, while there are characters that could have been removed altogether and while Anne and Derek could have done less crying and the whole social media part could have been presented differently, A Secret Affair triumphs mainly for not treating their audience like a mindless horde of masa. If the language used is not enough indication of this, we are given an ending that is consistent with how the characters are drawn up and we all go home reflecting on more than just the camp and the gloss.

Rating: 3/5


Jae's Review:

It's hard writing a review for this film without giving spoilers -- and I wouldn't want to do that to those who have not watched it so I'll just enumerate the 'likes' and 'dislikes' that I have for this movie.

Likes:

- Cinematography. There is that 'glossy' finish with this movie. It feels like every scene, background and props have been carefully thought out - from the camera panning to close ups and fade outs, there were always reasons for everything shown in this movie. The overall continuity was superb as well. When they implied that the characters were rich, they showed it (houses, scenes, cars, bars, etc) and did not go the easy way out by narrating it through character script. It's obvious that the people who made this had the passion and not just there to make money.

- Anne Curtis. Her role fit her perfectly. She doles out her lines (specially her 'taray' lines) as naturally and effortlessly as she breathes air.

- Andi Eigenmann, she was also the perfect brat. Although she would sometimes get swallowed by Derek/Anne with her English, she was believable.

- Jaclyn Jose. I was expecting her normal brand of monotonous line delivery. Thank you for throwing my expectations out of the window.

- The 'taray' lines. LOL. We all love getting the last laugh in any word war but since we are normal, civilized people, we can only do so through movies like these. Hahaha!

- The story. I mentioned in a review way back that I hate contrived scenes, events and endings. While this movie had some of that (parlor scene with both moms), it doesn't derail the story and destroy the depiction of the characters.

- The ending. I can't say why as I don't wanna spoil the story, but I am thankful to the writers for not giving in to the pressure of commercialization. ;)

Dislikes:
- Derek Ramsay. Why did he always have to cry(or attempt to) in all of his drama scenes? It was unsettling and it gave some of the scenes an awkward atmosphere.

- Anne Curtis' crying or was that a cat in heat?. It was noisy and loud and got to the point of being irritating by the end of the film.

- Andi's character exposition at the end (scene with her mom and dad fighting). It came too late into the movie - by the time this was shown, I couldn't care less about her.

- This is my own theory: I think the story was about young people in their early 20s, judging by the decisions/choices the characters did. Derek was too old to play that part so his character decisions came off as immature and childish which is in direct contrast to his looks and stature in the movie.

So, should you watch it? If you liked No Other Woman, then this is a no-brainer. There were dragging parts but I'd rather take that than have a movie that tells you the story in one big dialogue. Also, I was pleasantly surprised that this is not a Star Cinema movie considering the way it was made (that glossy feel I've been talking about). It's rare to see that in other movie outfits. Good job, Viva! Please do more films like these so Star Cinema can get some real competition.

Rating: 3.5/5
Average Rating: 3.25/5

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