Philippine Daily Inquirer

Fitting follow-up for Dingdong’s game-changing thespic triumph

- By Rito P. Asilo @ritoasilo

With the release of Irene Emma Villamor’s “Sid & Aya: Not a Love Story,” Dingdong Dantes finally finds a fitting follow-up to his game-changing thespic triumph in “Seven Sundays”—with affable Anne Curtis in tow. Yes, it is the movie to watch this week.

Dingdong’s noirish romantic starrer reverberat­es with the millennial vibe that has made films like “Never Not Love You” and “Meet Me in St. Galen” crackle with relatable pertinence as it follows the lives of reckless protagonis­ts who don’t mind betting on everything but their hearts.

Go-getting stockbroke­r Sid (Dingdong) and odd-jobs worker Aya (Anne) are no strangers to gambling—he with his money, she with her time.

Kindred spirit

But when the insomnia-stricken Sid hires the cashstrapp­ed Aya to keep him company in the wee small hours of the morning while he waits for sleep to come, he finds a kindred spirit who sees through his broken soul and fills a void that none of his all-too-fleeting relationsh­ips could.

He looks stable and sane, but the indelible memories of his troubled father, whose way out of his unbearable woes was to take his own life, still haunts Sid when he isn’t distracted by the dog-eat-dog pressures of his demanding day job.

For her part, all Aya wants is to fly to Japan and convince her elusive mother (Jobelle Salvador) that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.

But meeting Sid becomes an unexpected event that changes everything for the star-crossed couple and triggers an emotional longing for something more significan­t and satisfying.

As it grows over time, will Sid and Aya’s affection for each other be powerful enough to keep their loneliness and penchant for self-destructio­n at bay?

Devoid of vanity, artifice

His performanc­e may not hew closely to most viewers’ idea of show-stopping bravado, but the award-worthy Dingdong insightful­ly utilizes his maturing thespic chops to complement his smoldering screen presence in a gracefully limned characteri­zation that is devoid of vanity and shallow artifice.

Truth is, we’ve never seen this much “soul” from the heartthrob—and it doesn’t hurt that Villamor gives him considerab­le latitude in shaping Sid’s journey and character arc.

Anne is just as effective, given a chance to act her age. She may not be as consistent with her portrayal, but Sid’s gradual change of heart wouldn’t have been as effective had Aya’s stymied capacity for intimacy been insignific­antly conveyed by a performanc­e that also requires the character to be kooky. Anne aces that complex balancing act with perky charm, enthusiasm and confidence.

We don’t always get what we want in life, but Sid and Aya prove that betting on love is always a risk worth taking.

 ??  ?? Dingdong Dantes (left) and Anne Curtis in “Sid & Aya: Not a Love Story”
Dingdong Dantes (left) and Anne Curtis in “Sid & Aya: Not a Love Story”
 ??  ?? Dantes (left) and Curtis play star-crossed lovers.
Dantes (left) and Curtis play star-crossed lovers.

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