‘Sid and Aya: Not A Love Story’ Movie Review: A Simple But Effective Love Story

*Minor Spoilers Ahead*

From director Irene Emma Villamor comes “Sid & Aya” a new movie that tackles the bare bones of an evolving relationship. Dingdong Dantes portrays a stereotypical troubled man, Sid, who suffers insomnia. During one of his nightly ventures, he meets Anne Curtis’ Aya - a frank and hardworking “career woman.” Feeling an instant connection, Sid offers Aya a job where she literally just keeps him company at nights. As the two continues to spend time with each other, the inevitable happens - they fall in love. But with their complex situation, not to mention their individual life goals, they attempt to navigate the predicament they’re in the best way they think possible.

Dingdong Dantes as Sid and Anne Curtis as Aya in ‘Sid & Aya’/Viva Films
Dingdong Dantes as Sid and Anne Curtis as Aya in ‘Sid & Aya’/Viva Films

As with any effective romantic narratives, the two leads should sell whatever notion of love the film is tackling - something that Dantes and Curtis brilliantly did. Aptly titled as “Sid & Aya,” the movie was clever to focus on the characters and the stages of their relationship. Obviously, the A-list names would be enough to draw in people, but it was curious how the chemistry between the actors would work considering that they have yet to headline a project until now.

While Dantes and Curtis are established actors in their own rights, how they work together on screen was an entirely different conversation. In a small-scale, character-driven movie like “Sid & Aya,” chemistry between its two main stars was critical, and if it was in any way forced, nothing else would matter, the movie won’t work. Surprisingly, the tandem worked effortlessly. From the moment they met, up until the film’s last shot, the two exuded chemistry, it’s difficult not to root for them to be together despite their missteps.

‘Sid and Aya: Not A Love Story’ Movie Review
Dingdong Dantes as Sid and Anne Curtis as Aya in ‘Sid & Aya’/Viva Films

Sid & Aya’s strength, however, lies on its simplicity. It’s grounded on reality and doesn’t romanticize the idea of falling in love. Its story is very straightforward and structured which makes is easy to follow, and thus, easy to relate to. There are no unnecessary plot twists, out of this world elements, and time travel - media tropes that seem to be popular these days. The fact that the film tackled and focused on a normal relationship between a man and a woman, is, ironically a breath of fresh air. Interestingly, it also veered away from commonly used tropes in romantic films, giving it much more raw feel to it. There’s no huge inciting incident that brought the two together. They just met, developed a relationship and fall in love - something that is experienced by anyone.

The story took time to develop the two’s relationship without the use of common montages to breeze through the film’s plot making it feel earned.

That said, “Sid & Aya” is not a perfect film. There were convenient plot points (randomly bumping to each other at the train station in Japan) and underdeveloped subplots. Sid being a stockbroker didn’t add anything to the narrative other than an explanation why he’s rich. Further, the meltdown with his boss (and the ramifications of it), as well as his break-up with his girlfriend weren’t executed as well as the rest of the movie. There were also shots early on in the film that looked blurry which were jarring. Otherwise, the film’s cinematography was superb.

Dingdong Dantes as Sid and Anne Curtis as Aya in ‘Sid & Aya’/Viva Films
Dingdong Dantes as Sid and Anne Curtis as Aya in ‘Sid & Aya’/Viva Films

All in all “Sid & Aya” is a well-made, uncomplicated film - something that is a novelty these days. While its marketing was misleading, it helped in effectively subverting people’s expectations of the movie. “Sid & Aya’s” promotional campaign heavily leaned on it not being a love story giving the impression that there’s some plot twist just waiting to happen. But at its very core, the movie is a love story - possibly the most generic of them all. But between the unrealistic portrayal of relationships nowadays in media and the lack of just a good old romantic movie, “Sid & Aya” is an instant classic - and classics never really go out of style.

Watch 'Sid and Aya' full movie trailer:

— ALD, The Summit Express

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