‘Always Be My Maybe’ Keeps the Romcom Simple

This is just a film about two people falling in love, and it triumphs because of that simplicity.

Always Be My Maybe is one of the simpler Star Cinema romcoms in recent memory. There is no high concept at the heart of this story, no dramatic secrets, complex entanglements or major familial issues. No one is afflicted with an incurable disease, or burdened with some strange arrangement that keeps him or her from pursuing romance. This is just a film about two people falling in love, and it triumphs because of that simplicity.

After years of playing around, Jake (Gerald Anderson) believes that he's finally ready to settle down. He proposes to his girlfriend, but is turned down. At the same time, Tintin (Arci Muñoz) believes that the guy she's seeing is about to ask her to marry him, and she encounters disappointment as well. That night, she makes a video expressing her heartbreak that goes viral on the Internet. The movie then jumps six months later. The two meet at a resort that Jake owns. They bond over mutual heartbreak, and become friends. They hang out under the pretense of helping each other find new people, but they instead find themselves drawn to each other.

It's as simple as that. Two people meet, and they slowly fall in love. The only thing keeping them apart are the fears and insecurities developed from their history of heartbreak. Right from the moment they meet, the film makes clear that the two would be really good together. It builds its story around the two of them slowly letting their walls down, building the courage to commit to the possibility of being hurt again. It capitalizes on the simple pleasure of watching two people enjoy each other's company. The film as a whole largely eschews drama, and instead hangs on to the familiar emotions involved in the strange, messy process of people trying to figure out what they feel about another person.

This is a near perfect application of the Pinoy romcom formula. It doesn't get bogged down in extraneous drama, and focuses entirely on the feelings between the two main characters. The shortcomings of the format are still there (there are still too many scenes of friends telling the main characters what to do), but for the most part, the movie is able to work well within the structure of the genre. It smartly keeps stakes low, displaying an understanding of romance in the way that most people experience it. It isn't about world-ending drama. It's about confusion, and hesitation, and the ineffable pleasure of being with someone that makes you better.

The film also benefits from a solid production package. The film looks a tad better than the average romcom, thanks to some sharp lensing. And it gains a lot from its central pairing. Gerald Anderson continues to grow as an actor. Here, he presents an easygoing veneer of confidence that becomes affecting as it falls apart. Arci Muñoz is a lot of fun to watch, the actress clearly giving it her all no matter what's given to her. Together, the two seem to genuinely enjoy each other's company, which goes a long way in films like this.

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Always Me My Maybe isn’t groundbreaking by any means. It just takes the genre back to basics: two people spending time together and falling in love. It doesn’t really have to be more complicated than that. No one has to die of cancer. No one has to stand in the way of their love. There is already drama in people having to take that leap, risking their feelings as they pursue someone who might bring them happiness, but might also bring them pain. There are problems inherent to this genre that the film doesn’t quite buck, but that’s all right. It ends up working anyway.

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Always Be My Maybe
Drama, Romance
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4.3/5
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