Ikaw Movie: When potential meets budget, what breaks loose?
Do you remember when all movies and series and fanfiction centered around the idea of two opposites attracting, particularly a city boy and a simple girl from the province? We had Pangako Sa ‘Yo, Mula Sa Puso and A Very Special Love. But then everything became centered on affairs, third parties and infidelity with the likes of No Other Woman, The Mistress and The Love Affair. Fortunately, with the new Ikaw movie, we go back to the former, less cringe-y thematic.
In Ikaw Movie, now streaming on Netflix, real estate agent Dee (Janine Gutierrez) returns to her hometown in Sorsogon, where she gets reacquainted with an old school mate, Edong (Pepe Herrera).
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The Ikaw movie in itself has so much potential. The cast and crew alone are enough to make you stop scrolling through the seemingly endless (yet still limited, depending on your mood) Netflix library. But when you add in a tried and tested formula, it’s almost as if the movie can do no wrong. It dresses itself as the simple romance movie of our dreams—the kind you can watch over a bowl of popcorn without worrying you’ll miss out on pivotal moments over the crunch, or no one will really mind pausing until you’ve returned from the bathroom.
And with Valentine’s Day coming up, who hasn’t thought of adding Ikaw to their watch list? But while I’m not saying you shouldn’t bother with it, I am saying that it’s not all cake and icing.
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I can’t really put my finger on why, but the mayaman-mahirap trope just doesn’t fly in this narrative as well as I had hoped. Janine Gutierrez plays Dee to the tee, she is that independent woman making her way and thriving in the city, and visiting her hometown only for a special occasion. Pepe Herrera is charming as Edong, and makes a really strong case for “Wow, maybe moving to and living in the province is a good idea.” And Pilita Corrales as Lola Dulce requesting if the iPad can play Pilita Corrales songs was downright endearing. But not everything adds up.
The fixes to each conflict come a little too easily, and the issues introduced to make this film different from the rest come out of nowhere. There is very little build up to anything, whether good or bad, and you have no choice but to go with the flow—even if it seems unnatural. This core issue leaves its viewers unattached to the characters, and I just feel like there could have been more exploration into what makes the Ikaw movie special.
There are, after all, so many beautiful moments in the film: realistic awkwardness and true tests of someone’s priorities. Is it love, is it life? Can you move on knowing you had to let go of the one thing you held so close? What happens when the one thing that kept you somewhere changes, what’s your next step forward? But these were unfortunately left unexplored. What we get as an audience are Band-Aids solutions to heartbreakingly relatable issues.
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The Ikaw movie had everything going for it, but maybe it had too much going for it. Maybe it didn’t have time to choose, which is really the shame here.
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Art Macky Arquilla