‘Between Maybes’ Movie Review: An effective love story that goes beyond your usual love team


*Minor Spoilers Ahead*

Black Sheep Productions venture in new tandem territory by partnering up Julia Barretto and Gerald Anderson in the new film, “Between Maybes.” Directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, the film chronicles Hazel (Barretto) - an almost has-been actress on a shotgun trip to Japan where she meets, Louie (Anderson), an Filipino immigrant. Their chance encounter leads into an unexpected friendship and unconventional romantic relationship that just came at the wrong time.

Gerald Anderson as Louie and Julia Barretto as Hazel in ‘Between Maybes’
Gerald Anderson as Louie and Julia Barretto as Hazel in ‘Between Maybes’/Black Sheep Productions

Primarily shot in Saga, Japan, “Between Maybes” continue Black Sheep Productions’ penchant for character-driven stories. The film barely explores outside Hazel and Louie’s arc, with minimum interaction with the outside world as needed to establish the choices they make throughout the film making it much easier to back their love story.

Gerald Anderson as Louie and Julia Barretto as Hazel in ‘Between Maybes’
Gerald Anderson as Louie and Julia Barretto as Hazel in ‘Between Maybes’/Black Sheep Productions

In an entertainment industry dominated by love teams, “Between Maybes” decision to pair up seemingly unmatched actors is a bold move with attached risks. But Anderson and Barretto prove that films shouldn’t bank on familiar tandems to sell a love story. There are times throughout the film that one almost feel uneasy seeing Louie and Hazel’s more intimate moments. Some may chalk it to the fact that we’ve not seen this pairing before, but this actually makes the film more effective. The scenes are designed to make viewers uncomfortable watching them because it feels like an invasion of their privacy. Hazel’s whole schtick is to get away from everyone, and live her life without any prying eyes. Seeing her do just that with Louie feels wrong, but since viewers are already rooting for her, everyone can’t help but be curious how things pan out with her newfound relationship.

Story-wise, “Between Maybes” go with the simple route, as is with more recent Black Sheep Productions project. The premise is straightforward and grounded in reality that it’s not difficult to relate with either Hazel or Louie. But the film doesn’t lose its fictional flare. Watching it makes one want to travel to Saga in the hopes of having the same experience as Hazel. This is a tightrope to walk on considering that while the public appreciate the realism in these stories, films are a form of escapism, therefore viewers are looking to have that dreamy romantic feeling to it.

Julia Barretto as Hazel and Gerald Anderson as Louie in ‘Between Maybes’
Julia Barretto as Hazel and Gerald Anderson as Louie in ‘Between Maybes’/Black Sheep Productions

“Between Maybes’” waterloo, unfortunately is its final 5 to 10 minutes. It didn’t make much sense to go through the whole thing as it could’ve been done in a more effective way without succumbing to the beaten tropes we’ve seen in this particular type of sappy romantic stories. It’s unclear if it’s a set-up for a potential sequel but seeing as building franchises doesn’t seem to be Black Sheep Productions’ ploy, but even it is the case, there’s a more creative way to do that rather than simply shoehorn a series of scenes that doesn’t really add to the film’s story.

Despite this, “Between Maybes” is a well-crafted film that proves that we need more films that bank on the story rather than a tested love-team. The movie looks glorious, especially once the story transitions to Japan, most shots have great framing and lighting. Laxamana and his team capitalized on their beauty of their location and made the Saga a significant part of the film rather than just being a backdrop. And finally, Anderson and Barretto both brought their A-games acting-wise making Hazel and Louie feel real people, rather than cardboard versions of themselves. One would not oppose to see them work again together moving forward considering what they did in this film.

RATING: 8.5 out of 10

Watch full trailer:

— ALD, The Summit Express

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