Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Movie Review : That Thing Called Tadhana By Antoinette Jadaone

Are you ready to fall inlove? or To fixed your broken heart?

That Thing Called Tadhana ask the question "Where do broken hearts go?" and tells the story of a woman struggling to meet airline baggage requirements who meets a man who comes to her aid. Both in despair out of love, they form a charming friendship that will take them to Sagada in their attempts to mend each other's hearts.

Come and join CK Español for the awesome movie review on the blockbuster movie of the month That Thing Called Tadhana.

That Thing Called Tadhana

Movie Review by CK Español


It's hard to make a review of 'That Thing Called Tadhana' (Tadhana - noun which directly translates to 'Fate') without making it sound like a commentary or a movie analysis. I shall do my best to distance myself from the fact that it hits hard and it hits deep. I will probably, in a few occasions, succumb to the temptation but rest assured it will be least biased and most critical.

By now, a lot of you have probably watched this Cinema One Original Fan Favorite, but if you haven't, what are you effing waiting for? That being said, I shall also do an extra effort to avoid any spoilers. Damn, it's gonna be a challenge though!

Presented with a smart material like this, I can't think of how the movie could go wrong, so I too need to be smart to be worthy of even taking a stab at critiquing this work of art. With that I must commend Antoinette Jadaone for this magnificent piece. But if you may, let me show you why and how this is a smart movie full of juxtapositions of contrasting themes which at then end all tie up to the overarching theme of the film which is, wait-for-it, love. Surprise! *sarcastic cheer* Yey! (I'm not bitter by the way!)


Going into the theater I knew this was an independently made film but to my surprise, it didn't seem low budgeted at all. The quality of how it was filmed exceeded far beyond my expectations. It's no joke, the cinematography was really impeccable. The shots were cleverly taken, with each angle speaking to you even without any lines thrown. The establishing shots setting up each scene were fluid and didn't feel rushed at all. And I got to hand it to them, the views were amazing. I sometimes wondered how the hell were they able to take those shots!? But it worked!

It's obvious that this film touches a lot of themes on love and loss and perhaps we too might get lost in all the fancy mumbo-jumbo of broken-heartedness and moving on that we fail to see the clever details that establishes those themes and emotions, well primarily because they were greatly executed without getting in the way of the message. The cinematography precisely does this so excellently that the audience are effortlessly taken through the journey without any hesitation.


Obviously, opening the movie at an Airport in Rome raises a lot of questions already. This makes for a perfect opener which eventually leads back to home where most questions, if not all, would've been answered, a very smart move I must add. Along the journey, you'll be taken to the busy streets of Session Road in Baguio juxtaposed to the serene and freedom-invoking view and greenery of Sagada. With so much ease, these transitions were elegantly presented without it having to be so abrupt. In fact, they were smooth and on point that you really see where the movie is taking you. The close-ups and wide angle shots clearly set the mood of every scene that as a viewer you always know where they were, what they are trying to say, and where it will lead you next. They were paced quite well enough to ease us through out of the themes of struggles and finally into resolution.


The plot is simple, basic and easily digestible. They need not have to bring in a lot of twists and drop a lot of bombshells to make the story interesting. The premise is already interesting in itself, attempting to literally and figuratively answer the classic question, "Where do broken hearts go?"
The story telling was smart and subtle. The character introductions were subtle. The reveals were subtle. Even the conclusion was subtle. The character buildup was just right to see the progression of both protagonists' relationship evolve and develop naturally.


Angelica Panganiban was perfect for the role with her simple yet natural beauty coupled with crazy antics. She is very much relatable and anyone can easily put themselves in her shoes. The waterworks were just right, storming when needed and just drizzling at just the right moments. Her punch lines were delivered with all the right timing, hitting a home strike every time!
JM de Guzman proved himself as an amazing actor in this piece, what with his charming looks and lovable aura that naturally comes through. Every glance and smile were filled with emotions that even without saying anything, you feel what he was feeling. Again, you could easily relate to him.


Unless you're blind, you probably would have noticed both had on-screen chemistry that was surprisingly pleasant. From strangers to friends, this striking contrast of relationship evolution didn't seem strife nor forced. Never in the movie would you feel any malice nor sexual innuendos. These are two strangers who chanced upon each other by sheer fate and the story moves on from there. Panganiban moves from hurt to ease while de Guzman moves from a helping hand to a shoulder to lean on, all in the context of strangers to friends, in just a span of 3 days.


The script was also genius. The lines weren't really unique or new to anyone, but the delivery of it was. Part of the reason why it was a witty movie was because the lines were relatable and we almost always hear those lines time and time again from friends in the same situation as them. Heck, at one point or another we probably have also shared those lines to friends or told them to ourselves. Rather than the movie coming up with new witty quotable quotes, they leveraged on already quotable quotes from other references and from real life and used it to their advantage. And they effectively managed to make it work without making it sound cheesy, and instead made it relatable.


All throughout the film, metaphors are dropped freely and subtly without needing for it to steal the highlight from the main focus. Everything all ties up to the main message. Baggages, journeys, sharing the load, hearts and arrows, wishes, stars, just to name a few. No point discussing them all here, besides, it's best watched and figured out by yourselves than having them explained to you anyway.
References from a lot of more recent pop culture are also scattered all over the movie. What better way to tap into the mass appeal than to incorporate glimpses of favorite movies, quotes and songs into the story, and yet still remains true and honest. It's relevant, current and again, relatable.
And of course, I just couldn't leave out the musical scoring. The choice of songs, and in fact some may have been original (I just didn't have enough gusto to do actual research), were really tasteful, and very much effective. I especially love the acoustic guitar background music in most of the critical scenes.


Somewhere along the movie, you'd get really hooked and you wouldn't even check the time because you're too engrossed to see what will happen next. The movie will keep you wondering how and where they'd end up until at some point you'd ask, how in the world will their story end. It's gonna be a tough call to cut their story short but then again it has to end somewhere, and the most clever way of ending it to leave it a bit hanging with a little bit of being hopeful. When all things seems to go "as planned" or something like that, a major bomb will be dropped right when you least expect it. The twist that will make or break the whole story. But since Jadaone is a clever and very witty lady, she passes on the ending to the viewers to decide for themselves. The last and final contrast that this film displays! Will you leave it up to fate or will you make the choice for yourself. Of course, you will have no other option but to come up with your own conclusion to end the story the way you want it, so in a sense, it was a destined fate thrusted upon you, which really makes the discussion paradoxical. But anyway, the ending was effective in making the audience think, that if there were in the shoes of the characters, how would they have handled the situation? Indeed, highly provocative.


Of all the possible questions I did have, one was glaring for me not to have gotten a concrete answer. How did Anthony know the name of the girl? The whole time I thought he was calling her "Miss". I don't want spoil the ending so let me just leave it at this, how did he arrive at Mace Castillo?


But overall, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, this film gets a high rating of 9.5 for me! I highly recommend you all to watch it! This will really get you thinking one way or another.

About CK Español
He studied BS Electronics and Communication Engineering at Ateneo de Manila University.
Senior Technical and Product Development Officer at Smart Communications, Inc.
Occasionally I share my thoughts through Facebook. I love philosophy and psychology but I'm an Engineering major so I always like to keep it balanced, practical and logical.

Fotos credit to the That Thing Called Tadhana Facebook Fanpage


  1. About Mace's name, maybe nakita ni Anthony yun sa plane ticket niya? Passport? Maybe sa bag tag nung luggage ni Mace? Or maybe Mace told him her name pero hindi na lang pinakita? Ako din, akala ko 'Miss' yung tawag niya nung una. lol

  2. Miss talaga ang tawag nya mula umpisa hanggang sa hinatid nya sa bahay. Nalaman nya na Mace kasi pinursue nya ang kanyang feelings. :)