There’s much to love about Sid And Aya, but I’m dropping the subtitle for reasons I will explain later. For one, the trailer is quite arresting and easy on the eyes. Secondly, I lurve the theme song "Di Na Muli" of the Itchyworms, revived by Janine Teñoso for the movie.
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The first few minutes of the film sets the tone with Sid (Dingdong Dantes) battling the demons that are causing his insomnia. He is a successful stockbroker at the top of his game with a beautiful girlfriend, but deep inside he feels empty at his core. A character that so many people can relate to no matter what financial or social status you’re in. It reminds me of Camp Sawi’s establishing act since this is after all Direk Irene Villamor at the helm. Dingdong is able to sustain a gripping portrayal till the end, as a debonaire douchebag you’ll grow to love, giving another solid performance that is definitely one for the books. +4
Then we have the ‘Black swan moment’ when Sid and Aya (Anne Curtis) finally meet. Sid hires Aya to keep him company on several occassions, and I’m sure you can already predict what comes next. Regardless, I appreciate the fact that this love story does not develop typically like most, as you can really feel its self-conscious attempt to go against tropes. +2
Aya is quite a charming character. She is built up to be some complicated female persona, the kind that most working Filipinas can relate to. But as the film progresses, she ain’t all she was promised to be, which is a good curveball that the film presents. Again, it’s another attempt to deviate from the norm and Anne—as you’ve never seen her before—lends an amazing performance as she embodies this role. +3
So, it’s another one of these talky films. But this time around, it looks like the film has more money to stage these long conversational scenes at more fabulous locations like a carnival and even Japan when Act 3 sets in. But unlike Villamor’s previous films, I particularly like how engaging the conversations are despite not being too philosophical, which these talky materials usually resort to. The love story’s interesting, unusual yet fascinating progression is sustained up to its Act 2. But then... +4
Act 3 kicks in and the potholes surface. More questions emerge with scenes and actions occurring without clear motivations. It’s really a cinematic device used by writers for the characters to make really bad decisions, but some wrong choices in the film make our protagonists seem just plain stupid. Or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention enough? Or maybe that’s what the film wants you to feel? Or maybe these parts are supposed to be open-ended? I’m confused... -3
Should I spoil it and just go ahead and air my questions? I guess I’ll just let you discover them on your own 'cause I have more than a few, which makes me feel that maybe there were some scenes that they forgot to shoot? I don’t know. Once again, I’m confused... -3
Pao Orendain’s cinematography lends ample eye candy for us to enjoy the film even more especially with the dark, brooding tone that it wants to set. Coupled with Villamor’s direction and the superb performances, each scene is quite well mounted. +4
I know we’ve heard it before—films that claim to not be a love story. "500 Days Of Summer" declared it in its the opening scene, pretty much like this one. Okay, fine, it is now the season of not-love stories, which seems to be the current trend to break away from usual mainstream fare. But do you really have to call attention to it? I say, let the viewers declare it for themselves and drop the subtitle. Sid And Aya already sounds catchy as it is, like Bonnie and Clyde or Jeckyll and Hyde... I know you can already catch my drift. -3
But! I really enjoyed acts 1 and 2. And that’s more than enough for me to recommend this film. Maybe I just failed to grasp the emotional anchor of the film or maybe I’m just dumb or emotionally skewed from the film’s characters’ emotional journeys? Well, just 'cuse I was, doesn’t mean that you might be, too. And so I ask that you try and catch it and see if you’ll resonate more with Sid and Aya’s struggles. In the end, it is still a beautifully told love story. +4
That's a total of 12 popcorn kernels that I left in my bucket. I was watching intently to figure out if I missed a scene, and despite my misgivings of the film, I still believe that Sid And Aya is still a film that is worth your buck. That is, if you want to see something out of the usual from a mainstream studio! And, yes, it is a love story and don’t let the title make you think otherwise.
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