Review: In Mars Met Venus (divided into two interrelated parts: Part Cewe, the girl’s version, and Part Cowo, the boy’s version), gender differences are heightened in a relationship between completely-opposed couple. Part Cewe encompasses the girl’s point of view in the saccharine-laced rapport, adorning it with gender judgment, principle and trifles.
Pamela Bowie is Mila—the Venus, the girlfriend in the story. She’s a girl of charm and popularity, who dates an unpopular guy, Kelvin (Ge Pamungkas). Mila is open, passionate, talkative, and more controlling in the relationship; meanwhile, Kelvin is more submissive and restricted. After five year in a relationship, the boy invites the girl to make a vlog about their love journey, with a hidden intention to propose her. Yet, conflicts start to embark during the vlog production. Never-been-seen-before details begin to unravel, jeopardizing love they’ve built for the last five years. Continue reading Mars Met Venus: Part Cewe (2017): Are women from real Venus?
Review: Adapted from Achi MT’s novel of the same title, Benni Setiawan’s Insya Allah Sah! materializes as a religious rom-com, which almost immediately reminds me to Deddy Mizwar’s Kiamat Sudah Dekat (2003). Blending chaotic marriage preparation drama with some religious niches (too difficult to be taken seriously), the final picture comes like hit-and-miss at worst and preachy at best.
In Insya Allah Sah!, a woman named Silvi (Titi Kamal) was trapped in an elevator with a whimsical, hideous-yet-pious band manager, Raka (Pandji Pragiwaksono) on the day she’s supposed to be proposed by her longtime boyfriend, Dion (Richard Kyle). Under the fear of dying of suffocation, both make a pledge to God for their lives. Silvi swears to be more religious and act more compassionate deeds; while Raka to assist people around him. Continue reading Insya Allah Sah! (2017): Insha Allah preachy
Svetlana Dea’s directorial debut, Mantan (trans. ex-lover) is quite an oddball. It’s a dialogue-heavy romcom, which grounds between a social satire and a pure reconciliation game, but never really ends up being any of them. Sometimes it can be very convincing; but some other times, you’ll wish there would be some footnotes to help you understand anything. By the time you finally get an insight, the film abruptly ends its 75-minute run.
In Mantan, a young bachelor, Adi (Gandhi Fernando), is about to become a married man. Yet, before he becomes one, he needs to have a sense of self-fulfillment. He goes on a quest to fly up 5 different cities to encounter his exes, clear the air between them and find out if one of them might be his godknowswhy soul mate. Continue reading Mantan (2017): A Reconciliation Game
Review: With a title referring to an aviation term, critical eleven – three minutes after taking off and eight minutes before landing, where a plane is at the highest risk of crashing – Critical Eleven is not an actual film about flights; instead, it is a romantic manifestation of those critical minutes in a relationship.
According to the film (adapted from Ika Natassa’s bestseller of the same title), the same term is applicable to a meet cute as well; first three minutes of crafting impression, and final eight of leaving impression. And yet, the very same term is also applicable to enjoying this story, too. If the first three minutes (not exactly) gets you enthralled, you’ll desperately need to get prepared for the final eight minutes. Continue reading Critical Eleven (2017): An Anti-Romance Romance Film
Review: In its 130-min duration, Koe no Katachi a.k.a. A Silent Voice tackles a complex coming-of-age drama of consequences, self-alienation and reconciliation. Sometimes it staggers, sometimes it falls into melodrama; but, in the end, it passes a meandering way with subtlety and grounded intricacy.
Naoko Yamada’s first feature is adapted from a manga series by Yoshitoki Oima. The story orbits on a bittersweet connection between Shoya Ishida (voiced by Miyu Irino) and Shoko Nishimiya (Saori Hayami). As a kid, Shoya, not knowing the consequences of his deeds, bullies and abuses hearing-impaired Shoko. When consequences finally catch him up, all he has done to Shoko return to haunt him – excommunication, persecution, and all. Since then, he decides to prefer solitary, avoid contacts with people, and alienate himself from society. Continue reading A Silent Voice / 聲の形 / Koe no Katachi (2017) – Review
Review: Dear Nathan is a clear-cut boy-meet-a-girl story. A bon-chic-bon-genre girl, Salma (Amanda Rawles) unexpectedly meets a violent, rich yet troubled greaser, Nathan (Jefri Nichol), after both come late for school with opposite reasons. Salma’s simple act of compassion, to which Nathan returns with a completely different act of valor, leads these two youngsters into the offspring of coming-of-age romance fraught with cute moments and teen angst at once.
People are aware that coming-of-age romance is prone to uninviting clichés and hormone-induced exaggeration. With all those traits, there’s this thought that this genre is designed solely to its target audiences – adolescences, mostly adolescent girls; and, audiences outside that circle (adolescent boys and grown-ups) will find it tedious and delusional. On the surface, Dear Nathan – adapted from a sensation-laden Wattpad phenomenon – is exactly ‘that kind of coming-of-age romance.’ It’s cliché-ridden, saccharine-laced and unfocused; but it’s grounded to reality and, more importantly, accurate. Continue reading Dear Nathan (2017): A grey-and-white meet-cute