two and one

Review of well-acted Vivamax gay drama, “Two and One”


two and oneDIRECTOR Ivan Andrew Payawal has come up with a hit romcon online series in “Gameboys”. He now gives us an engaging drama about straight acting gays, “Two and One”, written by Ash Malanum who also wrote “Gameboys”.

The Two in the title are Santino or Tino (Miggy Jimenez of “Gameboys”) and Christian or Chan (Paolo Pangilinan of “Gaya sa Pelikula”). The One in the title refers to Joaquin (Cedrick Juan of “Paano ang Pasko”).

The opening scene is one of the cutest meet-cute scenes on screen. Tino is shown boarding an aircon bus and the camera follows him. He sits beside a cute guy, Chan, and strikes a conversation with him. It’s clear there’s attraction between them and the ensuing banter is very entertaining. The scene ends with Tino asking Chan to give him his cellphone number.

In the next scene, six months have passed and we learn that they’ve been regularly communicating with each other via facetime. We realize that Tino is a damaged individual. He grew up with two lesbians. He calls one Mama (Phoemela Baranda) and the other one Nanay (Shirley Fuentes).

Shirley left them for a man when he was a teenager and he’s the one who took care of Phoemela who became an alcoholic. Now, Shirley has returned and Tino vehemently rejects her. He asks her to leave and when she won’t, he’s the one who packs his bags and goes away.

He asks Chan to join him and he does. They go to a beach resort and, for the first time, make love passionately. They discover that both of them won’t be bottoms, meaning they don’t like anal penetration. So they just jerk off while unabashedly kissing each other.

Tino suggests that they have a sort of open relationship. They can get another guy who’d agree to bottom for them, and it so happened that a hunky potter in the resort is very open to this kind of arrangement, Joaquin. (Yes, they even have a scene that makes you recall the pottery scene from “Ghost”.)

So at first, they’re all happy together as a threesome but soon, some complications set in, mostly emanating from Tino’s tortured personality. What holds the film together through all its emotional highs and lows is the fine acting of the three leads.

They’re all exceptional, even in the no-holds-barred man-to-man bed scenes where you’d suspect that they must really all be flaming queens even off cam. But Miggy and Cedrick both claim they’re straight and Cedrick’s girlfriend was with him at the Gateway press preview. Paolo didn’t show up so we weren’t able to ask him about his own sexual preference.

Cedrick is superb in his scenes where he reprimands Tino for being so selfish, delivering his every line so delectably with much impact. Paolo shows the vulnerability that the role of Chan calls for and our heart goes out to him when Tino is being difficult.

But no doubt that Miggy is really the central character. He is very aggressive in the love scenes, but also consistently convincing in portraying his tormented anguish. He is very credible in his scenes where he is alone, wallowing in his self-caused pain and suffering.

The movie might have gay characters but the story about complicated relationships can apply to all kinds of couples and persuasions. The film has a very realistic ending. After not seeing each other for sometime, the two leads meet each other again by chance, just like the way they first met in the film’s fairly humorous opening scene.

But this time, there are no more lines delivered. Just a lot of staring at each other. And the effect with the final fade out is so bitter sweet. In the end, all of one’s experiences is ephemeral and all that happened is now just a beautiful memory.

This is a film about relationships that we will recommend to viewers of all genders. It will be streaming on Vivamax Plus starting this Wednesday, October 5.