Movie Review: She’s Dating the Gangster

Published on July 22, 2014

I read She's Dating the Gangster just because one of my best friends told me that it would be the next KathNiel movie. It took me a while to appreciate KathNiel. I got to see some of their teleseryes and previous movies on Cinema One, but I think that they have finally matured as actors in Got To Believe. I know that some people (1. those movie critics, 2. those trying to be movie critics, 3. those KathNiel bashers and 4. those who simply believe that watching Filipino movies is equivalent to being cheap) will argue with me on this post, but this comes from an ordinary moviegoer who just wanted to unwind and feel like a 16-year old once again.

Shes-Dating-The-Gangster-Official-PosterImage taken from here

I mentioned from my book review that I was hoping that the movie adaptation would have a different ending. Although I liked the book, I was very vocal about having mixed feelings with it because the love described there was a bit selfish, immature and destructive. That’s why I was so glad when I read a news article where Cathy Garcia-Molina apologized to the fans of the book because she had to change some parts of the story. Well, it worked!!!

The non-linear way of narration spanning from two timelines is actually interesting. It was done in such a way that does not confuse the viewers of what was happening. The story of the movie adaptation has more depth and complexity which everybody, regardless of what age group you’re from, can surely relate to. I appreciate how the movie version was able to tackle a lot of things that were not clearly described in the book – the love of a parent to his child, the value of waiting for the right time and the nobility of letting go. I’m glad that Cathy Garcia-Molina was able to work on and polish the flaws of the book version.

Daniel Padilla surely made the girls inside the cinema squeal, but that kid can act! I mean, I saw how he dramatically improved in G2B, but I wasn’t expecting him to deliver the way he did. He showed vulnerability and was successful in making his presence felt despite being put side by side with the more seasoned actors. Plus, his “angst” (must be from the Padilla genes) is something only his kind can pull off. Kung sa iba ‘yun, maiirita ako, promise! Kathryn Bernardo’s quirkiness is all over the place. I know some people may find her annoying, but I love her! (Oo, fan ako. Walang pakealaman! :p) And you could definitely count on her on the dramatic scenes. I found myself fighting back the tears countless of times because of her. She was very effective in portraying two different roles. She has the innate ability to affect her audience, whether it's to make them laugh or to make them cry.

Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta (Kids, sila ang KathNiel namin dati! :p) appeared in just a few scenes of the movie. They could have easily stolen the spotlight with their outstanding acting and their chemistry which still hasn’t died over the years, yet they didn’t. I think that’s the mark of a good actor. They made sure their presence is felt while letting their co-actors (KathNiel, in this case) shine in their own way. But their last scene together is just phenomenal!!! Tuwing pipikit ako, ayun ang nakikita ko. I don’t think any other actors can portray their roles.

It was clearly a Cathy Garcia-Molina film from the “look and feel” of the movie. Na-master na niya ang kiliti ng Pinoy moviegoers. She is known in making sure that the supporting cast shines as bright as the main cast. Khalil Ramos, who plays Lucas, had very minimal exposure. But his presence is just refreshing. Siya na ang patron saint ng mga na-friendzone! Sofia Andres is lucky because her role as Abigail was “sanitized”. I remember her being a bit bitchy in the book version. So yeah, her angelic face suits the tamer Abigail. It was actually my first time to watch Pamu (Sara) so she came as a revelation to me. The gangsters (both the before and after versions) are very funny. Even the surprising cameo appearances were notable! It was also refreshing to see a lot of familiar faces from Cathy Garcia-Molina’s famous films from the past playing trivial roles like an employee from a bus company or a coach of a basketball team. Super laughtrip!!!

She’s Dating the Gangster can get cheesy at times. And let’s not mention the weird fashion sense. But it is such a multidimensional movie which tackles the different faces of love. Yes, it is a teen movie, but it can give the viewers an unexpected rollercoaster ride of emotions. It was able to give the dose of kilig which the teenage girls came for, that pinch in the heart for parents, and that pang of emptiness to those who have loved and lost.

P.S.
You think I may be biased. But my husband, who most of the time just goes with me to sleep inside the cinema, thought it was good. Na-teary eye pa nga daw siya! Bwahaha!

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