Ever since the so-called Indonesian cinema revival back in the early 2000s, adult romance has somehow become a topic that mainstream movies attempted to avoid. The sub-genre has been subjected to the art-house area or, at some points, relegated to the soap-opera-only theme. However, the tide has shifted a bit in recent years, especially since adaptations of Ika Natassa’s metro-pop novels started grabbing specific audiences. Following up on the concise anti-romance Critical Eleven and its tonally problematic sibling, Antologi Rasa, the remarriage drama Twivortiare is set to showcase another adult romance with grounded, yet uncommon circumstances.
Twivortiare coalesces stories from two novels (Divortiare and the sequel, Twivortiare) into one comprehensive story centering on Alex (Raihaanun, 27 Steps of May) and Beno (Reza Rahadian, also portraying the lead in Critical Eleven). As a power couple, Alex and Beno respectively are persons of professions. Alex lives and breathes bank credits; meanwhile, Beno cannot live a day without his patient. Long story short, their strong personalities collide with dire toll: their marriage. Divorce supposes to be the end and closure of their romance (it is basically the basic plot of Divortiare). The premise that Twivortiare offers is: what if the end is only the beginning for the couple?
Ika Natassa’s novels often deal with the similar notion—where the end is nigh, but the characters somehow find the second chance to make amend. The very same thing happens in Twivortiare. The movie’s strongest pull is Raihaanun and Rahadian. Their performances respectively are at their top levels; however, it’s their chemistry as a couple who loves and loathes each other at the same time that makes the poignant point. The idea of remarrying one’s former spouse might not always be the most realistic (even if there are numbers of real-life couples who would make such a decision), but Raihaanun and Rahadian make the audiences hoping that they’re getting back together convincingly.
Similar to Critical Eleven, the chemistry between the leads is adding depth to this conflict-driven character study and rescuing the whole movie from the unbalanced script. Alim Sudio and Benni Setiawan’s script seems to be doubtful in presenting which elements of which novels to be highlighted more. It’s a risk they bravely took by amalgamating two novels into one feature film. What Twivortiare barely manages to anticipate is how important the post-divorce conflicts might affect the sympathy to invest in the second-marriage part of the story. Another thing that the movie could not quite grasp at the entirety is the taste of opulence, which Natassa often exaggerates in her larger-than-life novels. Exquisite life and the jet-set lifestyle which Natassa’s characters are prone to, normally, adds a certain depth to their personality and injects a particular angle in how they react to certain kind of events. Critical Eleven captures this perfectly, Antologi Rasa almost makes this perk superfluous, and yet, Twivortiare barely takes this into account. And yet, that’s probably for the best.
Under Benni Setiawan, Twivortiare resorts to being a light-hearted drama even when the source materials promise a serious and provoking chain of events. In the end, it’s up to Raihaanun and Reza Rahadian’s effervescent performance. Fortunately, they deliver real, heartfelt intimacy to lead this rare adult romance from its unfocused, struggling narrative in bridging two novels into one full-length feature.