Review: In Indonesia, Ada Apa dengan Cinta? (2002) is not merely a coming-of-age romance with political and literary subtexts; it has been a pop culture with generations of cult following. Even, the screen couple Cinta and Rangga (respectively portrayed by eventual Indonesian darlings, Dian Sastrowardoyo and Nicholas Saputra) have been established as romance icons the way Jack and Rose do in Titanic.
Hundreds of full moons have passed since Cinta gets separated from Rangga in aftermath of the famous airport scene in the 2002 film. However, fate (in the name of Mira Lesmana and Prima Rusdi—also co-writing the first film) still has a story for the the couple as written in Ada Apa dengan Cinta? 2—the most anticipated sequels in Indonesian film history.
After real-time 14 years on-screen and off-screen, Cinta has found a living in Jakarta, when the gang—Karmen (Adinia Wirasti), Maura (Titi Kamal) and Milly (Sissy Priscillia) minus Alya (portrayed by Ladya Cheryl in AADC)—reunites and plans to go on a vacation to Yogyakarta. Meanwhile, Rangga has started enjoying his post-college living in New York, starting a simple coffee shop when a circumstance drags him to return to Indonesia. Once again, a twist of fate reunites the legendary couple for one more reconciliation round.
Ada Apa dengan Cinta? 2 is constructed upon layers and layers of clichés, and more, it’s self-aware of multiple fortunes that connect dots as a result of conspiring universe. Yet, those are the clichés all audiences—especially those who’ve gotten attached to the original film—have been waiting for. That’s what make AADC 2 essential: it gives confirmation to the beloved characters’ fate, which is worth more than any sweet cliffhanger. It’s an ultimate fan-service sequel that gives life to the universe it lives in as well as gives proper nostalgic moments to those who celebrate AADC.
Helmed by Riri Riza, a hyper-realism aficionado, who replaces Rudi Soedjarwo, AADC 2 focuses once again more on chemistry between Cinta and Rangga. Shifting drastically from one sub-genre to another has never been an easy task, in this case from a coming-of-age drama to a more mature romance. Seems like AADC 2 learns a lot from Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy in accommodating this sudden change. Note that Linklater’s magna opera constantly connects story from story every real-time 9 years, Riri Riza takes similar approach to make it possible: making into dialogue-driven drama, a cheesy one that gets audience feeling attach to it.
Adorned with the awe-inspiring beauty of Yogyakarta on the background, AADC 2 benefits from the city’s own charm, which won my personal favor (not to mention that it is my hometown). An edgy city has been crafted into a romantic sanctuary, which actually represents the movie as a whole; it could’ve been any other city, but, alas, it won’t be as meaningful. The city, the atmosphere plus exquisite mise-en-scene (this includes arrangement of product placements) make AADC 2 a visually engaging drama, moreover with close-up shots over dialogues—which gives us more chance to sympathetically drown into the scene.
In the end, Ada Apa dengan Cinta? 2 is a quintessence of 14-year-long love loss and waiting. It’s sweet and it’s calling us home; it feels so personal and sentimental. It’s only as fabulous as the development of its universe—where all the beloved characters really grow with complexity and alternate reality that feels as real as ours.