Jason Paul Laxamana’s The Third Party

Filipino teleserye cheesiness galore + LGBTQ themes = utter cuteness.

 

It’s better than the trailer suggests, though the video does get the tone right. I watched this film after it getting recommended by a friend (who has solidified my trust on his taste forever). He assured me, as I now assure you, in case you are worried: There is no straight-washing.

The plot is mad and gloriously convoluted as any hopeless romantic can ask for. After a series of events that leaves her pregnant and hopeless, Andi (Angel Locsin) turns to her ex-boyfriend (Sam Milby) for help – and said ex, at the moment, is working out a rough patch with his own boyfriend (Zanjoe Marudo). There’s unresolved feelings and conflicts that all get addressed, thank God. There are characters that are individual and hilarious and, thanks to their actors, have really, really great facial expressions.

Seriously, one of the best parts of this film is to watch the three of them just react. You see every bit of emotion and franticness and disbelief flit across their faces every time the plot takes a twist. This is often because of an awful choice made by one of them—so much to the point that my sister and I began playing a game: count how many times one of the protagonists screws the other two over.

What I appreciated most about this film, however, was the serious conversations it invited me to have. For such a light-hearted comedy, it addressed some pretty heavy themes.

“Wait,” my sister said, pausing the film one-third through. “You’re not allowed to get an abortion in the Philippines?”

“Wait,” she said, two-thirds through, her face scrunched-up and dismayed, “Gay marriage isn’t legal here?”

“Isn’t it interesting,” I said, pausing the film myself, “that in the end he has to resort to English words to describe his identity? It kinda makes me think about our own language and how we could evolve it.”

She shrugged. “Just play the film.”

The Third Party does have its faults. It has a long-lost mother subplot that felt tacked-on and unnecessary. The ending also seemed a little rushed, with so much of the movie building up to the agonizing moment of suspense, only for that moment to be extinguished too quickly. I appreciate that there wasn’t a lot of self-pity, though—and the conclusion in the end was empowering for all parties, and satisfying.

Highly recommended if you have two hours to smile your face off.

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