I caught Star Cinema’s 25th anniversary offering Kasal on its opening day to a considerably packed cinema on an afternoon screening. It just proved once again that ABS-CBN’s film outfit truly dominates when it comes to mainstream local films. I was intrigued by its teaser which implied two men, Paulo Avelino's and Derek Ramsay's characters, both proposing to a luminous bride-to-be Bea Alonzo. Knowing very little of what the movie was about, I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining the film actually was. So, here’s how it went down.
Set in Cebu, the movie starts off as typical as it can get, breezing through the couple’s back story to set the mood, but Bea emerging from the pool in slow motion, wearing a two piece is EVERYTHING. +3
Since the full trailer spoiled it anyway, I’m just gonna do the same. So, Paulo as Philip Cordero, the prince and the only hope of the current political dynasty to keep themselves in power, has just proposed to Lia played by Bea, a simple school teacher. Although, it’s just the typical scenario of such a powerful family wanting their unico hijo marrying into the same class or caste, what I loved about the film is that it makes you champion their love story through and through. Well, I, as an audience, was personally invested in it. More about this as we move along. +2
Paulo delivers an astoundingly palpable performance in this movie and I am quite surprised. Now I’m looking forward to seeing him as Heneral Goyo. His portrayal of a seemingly untarnished and optimistic young politician harbouring a dark secret, results in a believable chemistry with Bea, which contributes to the film’s potency. +3
Then there’s Cherie Gil as the stereotypical monster-in-law in every sense of the word. Lavinia Arguelles cast in this role is typecasting at its finest. -3
Bea is effective as always with her signature acting style which is always dependable and expected from her. She does not bring anything that fresh to the table though but she is stunning as always. +1
Derek, as seen in the trailer, plays the bitter, vicious ex in the most caricaturish way possible. Perhaps that is how it was written and he just had to deliver what he was asked. -2
Kylie Verzosa is a revelation in this movie. I’m guessing this is her introductory role and her feisty portrayal as Philip’s ex-girlfriend is indeed noteworthy. Our über-gorgeous Miss International delivers an uninhibited performance that will make you want to see more of her. That steamy scene with Derek was fire! Looking forward to even meatier roles for the Philippines’ loveliest beauty queens. +3
Even though my movie companion found it slightly irritating, I enjoyed Cris Villonco’s take on our local version of Olivia Pope. Bordering on campy while being always high strung, her spin doctor character was one of my faves in this movie. +2
And then at some point, there was a half naked dude on the treadmill while Derek was on a Skype call with Bea. Why? -4
No Other Woman director Ruel Bayani has his signature all over but this time, you could feel a sort of restraint for this material. Of course, there are the signature English punchlines whenever dramatic moments arise, and melodramatic back to back screaming at times, but all in all, i was digging this more subdued tone from Direk Ruel. +3
Add to this, the play on light and shadows of master cinematographer, Mycko David which contributed to those beautiful, subtle moments in the film. Every frame is perfectly lit which made the film so delectable enough to engorge wholly. +4
The story actually has some sort of twist which I did not expect from a Star Cinema movie. But it’s about time that films tackled it. I also appreciated how in the ending of the film, no one was chasing anybody for some grand gesture. Progress, inching slowly, but still progress. +3
A total of 15 points for at least 15 confrontations that occurred within the film, Kasal may be soap operatic but it in this genre, it is definitely one of the more finely crafted ones. Audience’s sensibilites may not be the same but you cannot deny how well-made it is, regardless if you agree with what it wants to try to say or how it tries to say it. I enjoyed it thoroughly and would recommend it for lovers of melodrama out there, which comprises of almost the whole Filipino population out there.
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Banner image taken from Kylie's Instagram account