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Johanna von Koczian,
This is KC Concepcion's much anticipated first movie. This also marks the first time that actors from two rival networks have been allowed to team-up for a film. Richard Gutierrez is GMA 7's biggest male star while KC Concepcion is an exclusive contract artist of Star Cinema, ABS-CBN 2's film production company. See more »
For The First Time is surprisingly entertaining and skillfully photographed. Despise it in any way, but that's how formula films go. It's not entirely a person's fault that they are: a. somewhat allergic to romantic melodramas, b. without any doubt bursting with bitterness, or c. purely weird.
Pia (KC Concepcion) works as the head of the Marketing Department of her father's Real Estate Business. We see an uphill struggle on her part to please her father Santi (Philip Salvador). She will often be affronted by her father with how ineffectual she is. Despite the demands to achieve excellence, she still goes after her brother's advice to take her planned vacation. Pia is accompanied by her waggish nanny Josie (Candy Pangilinan).
From the restless dekko of Manila, the film shifted to the breathtaking views in Greece. Greece is dazzling. The white painted veneers of the old houses contrasts its cerulean sea shore are photographed well. Pia and Josie meet Benjo (Nor Domingo), Josie's pen pal. Then, they reside at the pavilion of Benjo's boss, Seth (Richard Gutierrez). Flashback - Seth broke-up with three of Pia's friends. He is dubbed as the number one playboy back in the Metro. And the two finally meet. Pia is annoyed by the awkward situation and she hurriedly leaves. Since its peak season, she has no other choice but to swallow her pride and go back. Seth convinces Pia to be her chaperone and tour her around the island. She agrees with the aid of a weird contract made from scratch paper: he will not court her.
Gutierrez manifests the genes of his father's matinée idol appeal. Likewise, Concepcion's parents were both endearing decades ago, that is why their daughter looks alluring all the same. It is evident that their team-up is impeccable. The acting is quite fine. It corresponds to their high society stature, so it's easy for them to present as they are. But Gutierrez must avoid this superfluous mannerism. He has locked this rubbish toothpick to his mouth in the entire Greece development. It is utterly distracting. Concepcion has these intense drama sequences that are not polished. She has this tendency to squash her dialogues and it makes her look anxious. Or is it possible to limit the dubbing parts to merely long shots, or aerial shots? It's just despicable to see medium range shots to close-ups, more so long takes that were dubbed. Continuity is very important in films. I remember one scene in Greece where Pia, Josie and Benjo are conversing in the veranda. The raw dialogues are not bad. It sounds sincere. It captures the precise mood in that minute.
The supporting casts are also good. Salvador as Pia's dominating father has the abilities to restrain his emotion. There are intricate moments that he was able to carefully control his compassion towards her daughter. The comical duo of Pangilinan and Domingo were laudably fine. They have this uncanny ability to precisely shift serious to crazy moments.
The film story has a tendency to miss small details that are quite important. They are running a Real Estate Company and the ideas considered marketable are not wholly profitable in real life. They must be aware that some audience has a background in Marketing. Its minor, but every part is leading to the plot. But if we go back to the main objective which is to entertain, this movie does successfully. That is admirable in its own way, especially in these hard times when people just wish to receive just compensation for the money they pay.
Certainly, the entire movie is endearing to watch. It's not corny. We see swanky young adults falling in love. Their faults, bruises and struggles were not overstated. It is pleasing that the director and actors' strive to improve on their craft. The sad truth is romantic formula movies are often frowned upon. Nevertheless, For the First Time is surprising as it delivers a cleverly made romantic movie.
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