‘The Significant Other’ Movie Review: Another Cheating Narrative

*MINOR Spoilers Ahead*

Directed by Joel Lamangan, “The Significant Other” tells the age-old tale of a cheating husband, in this case played by Tom Rodriguez (Edward), married to Lovi Poe’s Maxene - a top model who decided to temporarily walk away from her career to focus on her own family. Her eagerness to return back to the limelight prompted her husband to cheat with Erich Gonzales’ Nicole.

Distributed by Star Cinema, it’s advertised as a steamy love story, but in reality, it doesn’t have a strong romantic through-line to be called as such.

Erich Gonzales as Nicole, Tom Rodriguez as Edward and Lovi Poe as Maxene in ‘The Significant Other’
L-R: Erich Gonzales as Nicole, Tom Rodriguez as Edward and Lovi Poe as Maxene in ‘The Significant Other’/Star Cinema

Character set-up was thrown out of the window to deep dive into the intimate scenes right away that it’s difficult to feel compelled by any of the main players. It’s almost comical that after one flirtation session, both Nicole and Edward were suddenly smitten with each other. If it was intended that the two quickly had intense mutual reaction with each other from the get-go to allow their relationship to flourish quickly as it did, the movie did a bad job doing it. Further, other than sharing a bed together, we don’t really know what goes into their so-called relationship to merit an “I love you” on their first “date.”

Lovi Poe as Maxene in ‘The Significant Other’/Star Cinema
Lovi Poe as Maxene in ‘The Significant Other’/Star Cinema

Storytelling-wise,”The Significant Other’s” film flow was incredibly jumpy made worse by the unnecessary time-warps to the point that quick cuts and sudden change in pace can be really off-putting. This didn’t help the film’s script considering how inconsistent the film’s tone is. If anything, it only made the movie feel tacky, almost like a parody.

There’s no attention to the finer details whatsoever, and some characters are simply just there, without any purpose or meaning. Not a surprise considering how its main trio didn’t exactly have a clear arc, but still, it’s odd that we devote screen time for third-tier characters when it could’ve been used to delve more on Maxene’s, Edward’s and Nicole’s respective journeys.

One positive factor in the movie is Poe’s performance. She sold her character’s struggle to want to return to her career after devoting years of her life to her growing family. In just a few scenes, she unfortunately, the way her narrative progressed didn’t give her the opportunity to standout from movie wives cheated by their husbands. It gets more insulting when Edward wasn’t held accountable for his actions. He was just given a two-second shot of supposedly regretting what he did, but with how forthcoming he was with his mischiefs, it’s difficult to buy the idea that he’s a changed man in a matter of weeks or months. Worse, both Maxene and Nicole appeared to have quickly moved on after the scandal that went down a very public fashion gathering.

Erich Gonzales as Nicole and Tom Rodriguez as Edward in ‘The Significant Other
Erich Gonzales as Nicole and Tom Rodriguez as Edward in ‘The Significant Other/Star Cinema

In the end, it felt like The Significant Other’s main purpose is for the intimate scenes, which is such a let-down from a director like Lamangan who’s done great pieces like “Sabel,” “Aishite Imasu 1941: Mahal Kita” and “Mila” in the past.

Almost a decade after, it’s difficult to see that a lot of these cheating narratives are still trying to capitalize on the popularity that “The Other Woman” garnered. Outside of the the change-up in character profiles, not much is different. The patterns are almost similar, and what’s worse, most of the contemporaries don’t have the nuanced take on the story like the Ruel S. Bayani-flick.

Watch full trailer of ‘The Significant Other’ (video courtesy of Star Cinema):

— ALD, The Summit Express

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