(Photo from Cinemalaya.org)Cora (Nova Villa) wakes up from a pleasant dream into reality. She starts her last day as a government employee and in the next few months, she finds that she has nothing to do at home. Trapped in a seemingly loveless marriage with her husband Alejandro (Dante Rivero), she easily becomes irritated by her daily life as a newly retired senior citizen.
One day, after going to church, she suddenly sees Third (Freddie Webb), whom we find out as her first love from high school. This brings back memories: funny, romantic, and painful, and becomes the anchor point on which the story revolves.
The story seems trivial—which it is, but the story resonated with the audience because of how relatable the character of Cory is. She seems stuck in inescapable situations and she seems stuck in time, as well. Cory keeps the letters she wrote to her childhood sweetheart Third and frequently reminisces about the past.
The clock seems to be a consistent motif in the movie—it shows how time passes by so slowly. Time has become illusory and unyielding to Cora. Again, we go back to her being stuck in time. Although she wishes to go back and change what has happened (like attending her high school prom with Third and ultimately marrying him), she is limited to the present.
Villa proves to excel at physical comedy and surprisingly, even at dramatic scenes, as well. One of the most poignant scenes in the movies is when Cora removes her shirt to see herself in the mirror. She seems to be inspecting if she has aged gracefully. When she looks at and touches her body through the mirror, she cries. Time has not been good to her. Or, she has been so entranced by her memories that living in the present where age and deterioration exist affect her deeply.
Personally, I was most moved by the scene of Cora in a daydream when she imagines that she dances with Third and Alejandro. This shows the interesting dynamic between the three people. Cora dances with Third—she communicates with him through Facebook and constantly recollects memories. Cora also dances with Alejandro—she sees him on a daily basis. There is a push and pull that occurs between the two men in her life. She eventually has to make a choice between the two men.
I also remember Alejandro telling Cora that he only wants her to be happy nearly the end of the film. That kind of broke my heart into a million little pieces. In the end, Cora chooses to stay with Alejandro and even throws her letters for Third in the fire. Catharsis occurs as she cries for lost love and difficult choices in Alejandro’s car. Alejandro and Cora watch an outwardly happy show instead of a soap opera or basketball.
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