Romance in the real world: What Alone/Together tells about love and idealism
This is one straight-up bitter pill to swallow that Alone/Together gives—dreams are sometimes why love doesn’t work out. In her latest film, Director Antoinette Jadaone shows a different kind of romance set in an all-too real world, testing the ideals of young dreams like that of wanting to change the world and wanting relationships to last forever.
The film has a lot to say about ambition, love, and the distance needed to make growth possible. Here’s some of what we can pick up from the story of Christine Lazaro (Liza Soberano) and Rafael Toledo (Enrique Gil).
- College is the time to be passionate. Following the entangled lives of two college students in their early twenties, the film shows how convenient it is to dream at a young age—to think that you have it all figured out, only to be slapped by the truth of struggles in the real world. Here, Tin and Raf vividly dream about their future; Tin as a museum director while Raf a doctor, and of course, together and married. However, the road to those dreams isn’t smooth for the couple, and for themselves individually.
Director Antoinette knows this struggle all too well, as someone who was also once an idealistic student. Perhaps this is the reason why the film hits hard, because like Jadaone, we’re all Raf and Tin at some point. In her tweet, she shared:
my 2010 self pic.twitter.com/wUO4ip7yqQ
— Tonette, Tonette (@tonetjadaone) January 30, 2019
- Distance is important to make growth possible. The reality of growing is painful and given, it’s just that it’s much more surreal when delivered on the big screen, matching with JM De Guzman’s rendition of Riverymaya’s The film has a way of telling us that relationships aren’t meant to be the center of our lives—as if we’re not told that enough. The point from where you are now to where you want to be is a big jump that a great love just can’t easily conquer—even if it tried.This complication of present and past simply goes to be one of its main conflicts—however which treatment in the resolution doesn’t seem quite right for actual relationships, especially because it involves emotional cheating.
- Dreams are still dreams even if you fail. There’s a part in the film where Tin tells Raf “Maybe I’m not meant to be that great person”, which is also where everything seems wrong and the only choice left is compromise. This relatable defining aspect of the story sets itself apart from the established formula of romantic movies in the country, as it tries to veer away from depending its charm from the chemistry of the renown love team. It pulls its novelty from its pure and subtle understanding that love co-exist with other motivations like frustrations on self and career. Through this, Jadaone successfully expands the breadth of typical romance, which on the flip side, has disappointed some audience who expected from the earlier trailers that the film will be entirely set in college.
- The world will push you to compromise. If anything, the film is a pat on the back for all of us to remember that it’s only human to compromise. Tin and Raf make us realize that there will come a time that it is safer to settle for what life gives us than to strive harder for what we long for. Until the end, the film respects its characters’ sentiments, rewarding each one of them of maybe not full justice, but poetic sustain. The film is a contrast to inspiring narratives about dreams, in a sense that it reminds us of how the progression of time and the brutality of fate can trump us in the long run. In an open letter that Jadaone wrote, she said “The best time to change the world? It’s right after college, when you are so f**king sure you can. Then you will become 26. Then 28. Then 30… and you will just forget about the world you badly wanted to change before.”
Even with Alone/Together showing a glimpse of real world lessons, the flack it’s received can’t be denied, with the plotline drawing too much unrealistic expectations of college “what-ifs”. Although Alone/Together gained attention with trailers teasing of a rosy-colored University romance, the film itself took a dark look into the world of what happens after. And despite its divisive story, it can make one wonder about what’s to come a few years down the line.
Whether we’re meant to change the world or not, here’s a song from Alone/Together to help on our way there: