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USD $1 ₱ 57.36 0.0000 May 17, 2024
May 17, 2024
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A Sincere Heart Fuels ‘All You Need is Pag-Ibig’

It offers interconnected stories of people falling in and out of love, pursuing their happiness as they wade through the complex feelings they might have for other people.

All You Need Is Pag-ibig sketches out several different faces and phases of love. It offers interconnected stories of people falling in and out of love, pursuing their happiness as they wade through the complex feelings they might have for other people. This is a whole world of love, which is a pretty tall order for one feature film. Not all of these components parts work, but the ones that do are really quite wonderful. And the full portrait of this world of love that the film paints is actually quite affecting, in spite of all the gaps in the narrative.

Following fifteen years of hosting a love advice show, Love (Kris Aquino) has a very public meltdown and runs away to Coron to wait for things to die down. Anya (Kim Chiu) hasn't found the success that everyone was expecting for her in high school, and ends up faking that success for a high school reunion, with a little help from her high school sweetheart Dino (Xian Lim). Mel (Jodi Sta. Maria) has a thing for her boss Eric (Ian Veneracion), who has just gotten his heart broken. Older couple Loisa and Jaime (Nova Villa and Ronaldo Valdez) have lost the spark in their marriage, and Loisa is feeling neglected. And teacher Corina (Pokwang) is still pining for a hopeless love.

It's a lot of stories to stuff in one movie, and some of them don't really work. Or at the very least, the movie doesn't really afford them enough time to work. The ideas are solid, but there isn't enough room to really let them breathe. Some of these stories feel like they're rushing to their resolutions, skipping a lot of the necessary storytelling to give these outcomes any weight. The individual scenes are certainly well done, but at times it just feels like too much has been cut out on the way to the endings.

But the parts that work are pretty wonderful. Core to this movie are the scenes between Jodi Sta. Maria and Ian Veneracion. It's just the story of two people getting comfort with each other, slowly breaking down the barriers that keep them from taking the plunge into romance. It's mostly low-key and terribly romantic in a way that feels utterly distinct. The movie gets so much out of them just trying to see other through a glazed glass partition. The story between Kim Chiu and Xian Lim feels a little truncated, but it also works well enough. The film puts heat between the two of them, and it works out pretty well.

The other segments are a mixed bag at best. The opening portions of the Nova Villa/Ronaldo Valdez story are quite affecting, but it putters out near the end. The bits with Pokwang just aren't meaty enough, and the child actors just don't keep up. The Kris Aquino portions are little more than a framing device, the character not really getting enough material to make the later developments work. The tapestry that the film puts together, though, is still pretty impressive. Strong editing and solid cinematography helps compensate for whatever deficits each section might have.

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All You Need Is Pag-ibig ultimately bites off more than it can chew. It might have worked better with a couple fewer stories to tell, giving more time for the stronger sequences to really leave their impact. But inexplicably, the thing still kind of works as a whole. Its outlook is pretty affecting when all is said and done, the movie tied together by its sincerity. This is a movie that believes in love, regardless of what form it takes. Weaknesses aside, that kind of sincerity allows the movie to last beyond the viewing. It sticks around, leaving hearts warmed and souls refreshed.

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Movie Info

All You Need Is Pag-ibig
Drama, Family, Romance
User Rating
3.2/5
40 users
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Critic's Rating
4.0/5
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