That Thing Called Tadhana (That Thing Called Destiny) Movie Recap
There’s nothing NOT to love about this movie. Capital N-O-T-H-I-N-G! From the convincing performances down to the undeniable witty dialogues. This is indeed a rare gem in Philippine cinema. I rarely watch Filipino movies but the buzz steaming off from ‘That Thing Called Tadhana’ is something I couldn’t miss. For sure, ‘Tadhana’ broke records as it effortlessly pierced through the heart of movie goers with its simple and realistic approach to one of life’s most difficult questions, Where do broken hearts go?
PS This is a baby recap. 🙂
For those who loved, lost, yet loved again. In short,… you idiots!
The movie starts off with a woman narrating a story about an Arrow with the Heart Pierced Through Him…
Mace: The arrow with the heart pierced through him. There was an arrow who was getting tired of his pointy life, until one day, he woke up feeling heavier than usual. He woke up with a heart pierced through him. Whose heart are you and how did you get here? The arrow asked. But there was no reply.
In an international airport in Rome, MACE (Angelica Panganiban) is reduced to an ugly teary-eyed mess for having been declined to board the plane countless times because of excess baggage. Her supposed plan of following and living with her boyfriend in Italy is put into a crashing end as she learned that he already has someone else.
Seeing her desperation, fellow Filipino, ANTHONY (JM De Guzman), offers some help. Since they are both going back to the Phils and he only has two small bags, he agrees to let her have his extra baggage allowance. She’s a tad hesitant at first, but later on concedes as she, in fact, has no other choice on the matter.
Later on, Anthony learns that Mace is not the typical gal. She’s overly dramatic and a bit scandalous in more ways than one.
After arriving in Phils, the two newly acquainted strangers decide to roam around some more. Anthony shares then that he went to Rome for a vacation. Not that he’s rich or anything. It’s just his dream to go there before he turns 28. Actually, it was his mom’s dream but since she’s gone, he resolves to fulfill her dreams in her stead.
A few more drinks later, it’s Mace’s turn to pour her heart out.
Mace: You know how they say if it’s meant to be, it will be? If he’s destined for you, he will come back to you? How does that go? It’s all up to the wind? To destiny? Some vague force that doesn’t show you the future with someone you really love? So after eight years with him, I have to swallow that were not meant for each other? It shouldn’t go down that way. Not for me. For me, you should go after the one you love. Fight for him. Don’t wait for the wind to blow him back to your direction. Pull him back. As long as you can, don’t give up. Don’t let go… Sorry, it’s just I love him.
She has an eight-year relationship with her boyfriend. He went to Italy to work. He was supposed to go back but was extended for another 2 years. She relented. She thought she could just visit him there. She could even work there and leave her career as a band manager just to be with him. So she used up all her savings, borrowed money from friends and bought a ticket, only to learn that he has somebody new. She can’t believe that all those years, she allowed him to sweet talk her and she was crazy enough to believe him. After all, 8 years is a long time to reap doubts.
Mace: The length of relationship doesn’t matter. If he no longer loves you, he no longer loves you. “I-no-longer-love-you-please-leave”. Seven words. He ended our eight year relationship with just seven words. I never knew it’s that easy to forget.
Anthony: He doesn’t love you anymore. Clear. What’s unclear about that?
Mace: Couldn’t he just told me why? Explain to me what I did wrong. Whatever did I do wrong?
Anthony: If he told you why, would that have changed everything? Bottom line, he no longer loves you.
And in her drunken state, she tells Anthony to go with her to Baguio.
Off they go via bus ride and to pass time, Mace watches a movie in her phone. Seeing that she’s about to cry, he warns her not to make a scene again. She argues that it’s justifiable for her to cry this time because she’s crying over John Lloyd Cruz, a famous dramatic actor in the Phils. Anthony can’t get that girls drool over that actor. He’s clearly just an ordinary guy. Mace strongly contends. JL has this boy next door charm, he could make girls feel loved and most importantly, her ex-bf looks exactly like him. She proudly shows him her ex-bf’s pics. And right then, Anthony concludes that indeed, love is blind. Obviously, there are no resemblances of some sorts.
Everything boils down to her thinking of her ex-bf. And it’s not helping. So she proposes to give him one peso every time she mentions her ex. And though it’s not easy to forget, it’s a start. He agrees but raises the stake at one hundred pesos instead.
Mace: How does one forget?
Anthony: I don’t know. I just woke up one day without my ex in my head. I just forgot.
Mace: How long?
Anthony: A long time.
Mace 1 year? 2 years? 3? 4? 5?
Anthony: Does it matter? As long as you end up forgetting.
He tells her it’s only normal that she finds it hard to forget him. She may even take 17 years to forget.
Anthony: I wouldn’t know. It’s all up to you. You can drink every night, cry, pick any guy, or find a new love. Here’s a quote from Scott Fritzgerald, “There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice”.
In Baguio, they visit an art museum. Anthony stares at the paintings with obvious longing. He used to paint and took up Fine Arts in the University. Back in high school, he won different awards. Back then he thought, he was talented. But during college, there were people more talented than him. He became insecure. And now, he only knows how to please his boss, the clients and meeting deadlines.
While eating at a restaurant, Mace wonders since he’s a Fine Arts grad, maybe he can illustrate the story she wrote a long time ago. She wasn’t a writer but that time, she felt she could win the Palanca Award. Her instructor even encouraged her to share the story to the world.
It’s about an arrow with a heart pierced through him. The arrow looks for the owner of the heart because it was weighing him down. But nobody knows who owns the heart. Until time came, the heart felt lighter. Maybe it lost weight, he was getting stronger or the heart carries itself. One day, the heart slowly moved away from the heart and its no longer pierced through the arrow.
Night comes and they go to a massage parlor. There, Mace tells him of her dream. She dreams she was bungee jumping with her ex in Macau. It was they’re plan for a long time. When they were fully geared, she prepared to jump. She counts off to three and held his hand. But he slowly let go. He jumped and left without her.
For 8 years, her ex didn’t even ask her to marry her. It was the only thing she was waiting for. She could have said yes and given up everything. Bu the question was never asked.
Anthony tells her he dreamed about her too. They were walking down the Session Road. And that’s it. No counting off. No holding hands. No letting go. They just walk.
Anthony sadly relays that he too has the same experience. His ex also wanted to get married. But that time he didn’t want to, not that he’s against marriage but because he doesn’t want to get married yet. But when she left, he realized that she could have been the one. He chased after her but she didn’t want to get back anymore. He clung to idea that if its meant to be, it’ll be. Let fate or whoever decide.
Mace scolds him for being stupid. It’s his fault for not chasing her enough to catch up to her. Simply said, he gave up too easily. On the contrary, he did chase after her but it was too late. She’s already married with 2 kids. Sometimes he wonders has it ever crossed her husbands mind that there was someone who loved her so much before he did.
While walking along the road, she asks him if she’s ugly. He can’t help but laugh. Of course, not. He wouldn’t come with her if she is. She’s rather disappointed to know that he came with her only because she’s pretty. He explains that the circumstances lead him there. He’s single, has nothing to do, he’s vacation is up until tomorrow and a girl invites him go to Baguio. That girl happens to be pretty, smart, great to talk with, except during time she makes a scene but fun to be with overall. How can he say no?
She asks again if someone will still like her? Will she be in another relationship? Will she be loved again? And he confidently answers YES!
Anthony: It’s for a love like yours, that overwhelming love that flows out from you is impossible not to catch on anywhere or anyone. It’s bound to be reciprocated, not necessarily from the person for whom it was intended. But I’m sure it’ll return to you. Just like what John Lloyd said, the reason why the one we love leave us because someone new is coming. And that someone will show us why the past never worked out. And will make us realize how we’re supposed to be loved.
He continues that when he made up his mind to forget his ex, he went up north, to Sagada to Mt. Kiltepan, to the point where he was like stepping on the clouds. It felt like heaven. He unloaded everything there. He screamed all his anger, all his pain, everything he wasn’t able to say. Bu the pain didn’t disappear entirely but at lest it lessened a bit.
And off to Sagada they go…
This is my favorite scene. KYAHHH! This is the part where Anthony and Mace are drinking coffee. He offers his coat and shyly puts his arm over her. When she looks at him, he immediately pulls back and covers his ears. GAWD! The cutest scene ever!!!
It’s already nightfall when they arrive in Sagada so they sleep outdoor. Looking at the the stars, Anthony asks that if a shooting star passes by what will she wish? She readily answers that she wishes to stop loving her ex. He, on the other hand, wishes that wherever his mom is, he’s making her proud.
Mace wants to know how his dream of them walking down the Session Road ends. And he says he woke up before he got to that part. But if he were to give it an ending, Mace turned to him slowly and tells him she forgot about him.
Morning comes and letting go seems inevitable. Mace shouts and shouts until every things been said. It’s time to let go.
Behold the Sagada view…
And just like how his dream went, they are now walking hand in hand along the Session Road.
After the Sagada trip, Mace and Anthony go to Manila to face reality. But who have guessed that just when everything is falling into place, ex-bf (Joem Bascon) decides to return. He wants Mace back.
Anthony walks away, extremely saddened. In a short period of time that he and Mace spend together, he knows that he has fallen for her. Will he chase her or will he let go? Will he fight for the one he loves or leave it to fate to decide?
Anthony: The Arrow who used to have a Heart pierced through him tried to move on, but he was too heavy and he was dragging himself down. The Arrow could not understand why he felt heavier when he actually no longer had the load of carrying somebody’s Heart. So the Arrow tried to go back to his old pointy life and everyday he would wake up feeling heavier than usual. The Arrow tried to be patient and just try to be the old Arrow that he was before he became the Arrow with a Heart pierced through him. And he did. One day he just woke up feeling stranger than usual. The Arrow woke up being tired of his pointy life again. Until he heard the question too familiar that it was not strange at all.
Heart: Excuse me but have you lost your Heart.
Anthony: The arrow was surprised. It was the Heart who was used to be pierced through him. And there was no reply. The Arrow and the Heart didn’t need any.
In the end, we see Anthony happily driving a car. On his lap is a book…written by Mace and illustrated by him. THE END.
I loved how this movie ended. With the realization of their plan, it’s safe to say that Anthony didn’t make a stupid decision this time. The element of personification is such a unique touch.