Movie review: 'Tayo sa huling buwan ng taon'

Tayo sa huling buwan ng taon

TAYO sa Huling Buwan ng Taon’ is a sequel to the surprise indie hit, “Ang Kuwento Nating Dalawa”, written and directed by Nestor Abrogena and shown in 2016. It opens today in cinemas and is about Sam (Nicco Manalo), a teacher and aspiring filmmaker, and Isa (Emmanuelle Vera), a writer, and their very tentative romance.

The style of the movie then is very indie. They’re often shown just walking and walking and the camera follows them. Their romance is obviously doomed from the start as she already has a boyfriend and will soon leave for abroad, while he is about to get a film scholarship in Berlin. The film ends without anything being resolved. Open ended, bitin.

So now, in the sequel, they try to show us what happens next. Five years have passed and both Sam and Isa are living in with their new partners. Sam is with Anna (Anna Luna), his co-teacher, while Isa is with Frank (Alex Medina), a pilot. So now, there’s not just two people having a problematic relationship but four of them. But their world is also expanded as their respective families are also introduced.

The style remains to be very indie. The pacing is very leisurely and viewers with short attention spans should deal with it with more patience. It really takes a long time before the paths of Sam and Isa cross each other again. You’d think that they’re already happy with their current partners, especially for Isa since she’s all set to migrate to the U.S. with Frank. But no, the past catches up with them and there are bitter recriminations leading to tear-filled heartbreaks. In the end, nothing is really resolved again and the  writer-director, for the final scene, chooses to go back to the past showing how o two of the characters first met in 2016.

Honestly, this sort of film is not the usual feel- good romcom local moviegoers flock to in mall theaters. But if you’re one of the cult followers of “Kuwento Nating Dalawa”, we’re sure it would resonate with you and you’d be able to connect with the characters and the transitory nature of relationships.  Their bittersweet moments of indecision in the sequel are bared and left for the audience to ponder. They can speak as much to the mind as to the heart and what it says is likely to strike a responsive chord to ordinary mortals who have come across such painful moments and feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability in their own lives. As such, so they can surely relate more meaningfully with the characters.

The stand out here is Emmanuelle Vera (she now prefers to be called just as Vera, which we think, is unwise). She has a really strong movie star screen presence and she knows how to embrace her character and also connect with the viewers. It’s so easy to get enraptured by her. Actually, in the first movie, we felt that she and Nicco Manalo are quite mismatched since she’s even taller than him and also wider. We seriously believe that, given the chance, she can give some of the more established network actresses a run for their money.

Just like in the first movie which used the song “Walang Hanggan” by Quest effectively, we hear a new song in “Tayong Dalawa” that is very apt for the story, “Huling Sandali” by December Avenue. Other good songs we get to hear in its soundtrack are “The Fight is Over” by Urbandub and “Panahon” by Elle Sebastian. We’re sure that if they’d come up with an original soundtrack album, the movie’s devoted followers would want to get a copy.