StyleBible Preview

"Ngayon Kaya" Is the New Hugot Movie That Will Be Worth Your Time and Here's Why

Trust us, it's the cheesy Filipino rom-com film that you need to see right now.
"Ngayon Kaya" Is the New Hugot Movie That Will Be Worth Your Time and Here's Why
IMAGE Ngayon Kaya/T-Rex Entertainment
Trust us, it's the cheesy Filipino rom-com film that you need to see right now.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a sucker for hugot movies. My Netflix history can confirm that when I don’t know what to click play on, I always end up going for a flick about a pair of lovers who are just trying their hardest to make things work. "The sappier, the better," I say. Isa Pa with Feelings (2019), I’m Drunk, I Love You (2017), and That Thing Called Tadhana (2014) are only some favorites with scripts that I’ve already virtually memorized.

While I’m cautious about saying that things are “slowly going back to normal” today, one indication that they really are is that cinemas are opening again. One of the first local titles to make a comeback to the physical theaters is Ngayon Kaya, T-Rex Entertainment’s latest offering featuring the buzz-worthy love team of Janine Gutierrez and Paulo Avelino. It chronicles the story of AM (Janine) and Harold (Paulo), two music-loving college kids who reunite years after graduation to settle some "what-ifs."

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
ngayon kaya paunine review
PHOTO BY Ngayon Kaya/T-Rex Entertainment

I should point out that I am a huge fan of both its lead stars. Janine's Gawad Urian-nodded performance in Babae at Baril (2019) is an acting masterclass everyone needs to see. It was such a far cry from her bubbly rom-com bits, and yet, you're still enamored by the brown-eyed lead character, albeit you'll be sympathizing with her on a much graver level. Her leading man, on the other hand—well, do I even have to say it? Paulo’s charm, both in fiction and in real life, has made hearts flutter all over the nation, mine included. That slight dimple he has on when he grins is so distinctly his, he might as well have it insured.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Recommended Videos

ALSO READ8 TV Shows and Movies Starring Janine Gutierrez Any Fan Should See

Fans may assume that “PauNine” was founded through their Dreamscape teleserye, Marry Me, Marry You. But their professional partnership actually began with Ngayon Kaya, which was a pre-pandemic production. It was a pot of soup that simmered for almost three years, and after everything that halted its supposed release, it’s finally ready to be served. I'm no chef, but you know what they say: The longer a broth boils, the better it gets.

It's soup that’ll provide the nourishment many have been needing. These recent times have been so fast-paced and unnerving that something like a cheesy rom-com is almost a necessity now. Jen Chuansu, the film’s screenwriter, describes the experience of watching movies like this as a “catharsis” of sorts. They may not be for everyone, but they're like a breathe of life simply because they’re so familiar. 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
ngayon kaya paunine review
PHOTO BY Ngayon Kaya/T-Rex Entertainment

Yes, maybe the two do see each other as the ones that got away. Yes, maybe there’s a scene where one chases after the other at an airport. Yes, maybe the lead characters have a falling out, and years later, they reconnect and dwell on their right-person-at-the-wrong-time relationship. Ngayon Kaya ticks all of the boxes of your typical hugot film, through a story that, maybe romantically or otherwise, can resonate with its viewers somehow.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

One way by which the movie hits home is with its soundtrack. Household names like Mayonnaise, Typecast, Ang Bandang Shirley, and more lent their tunes to AM and Harold’s story. Not to flaunt my youth, but I couldn’t even walk on my own two feet when they were at their prime, which was around the early 2000s. Contrary to that, AM and Harold’s adolescent days had their songs on repeat.

In one scene in the 1-hour and 40-minute flick, AM said her goodbyes to Harold by letting a live performance of Bakit Part 2 play through a phone call. I haven’t heard that song before, but just listening to the chorus made me feel like I grew up with it. And maybe I did. I fondly recall elementary school days when I’d go to my cousin’s house on the weekends, and she’d be on her computer playing songs by Eraserheads, Sugarfree, and probably Mayonnaise, too. 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
ngayon kaya paunine review
PHOTO BY Ngayon Kaya/T-Rex Entertainment

Aside from that blurry instance though, I have no personal memory attached to the song. But much like the two leads, it brings me back to my experiences in college, specifically my last few ones. I was gearing up for the great big world, and I didn’t know if I should hold on to a dream or go with what’s practical (I’ve yet to find out if I’m doing either one right now). Like AM, I was ruminating on possible parallel universes; ones where my crush liked me back, ones where I chose a different course, even ones where I wasn't gay. 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

What I’ve come to realize, and perhaps it’s the same for central couple, is that there could be multitudes of universes out there, yet the one we have now is the one we’re meant to be living through. Janine herself, for example, shared to Preview that she once auditioned for the role of Amihan in the 2016 Encantadia reboot. She didn’t get the part, but fast forward to today, countless projects and a network move later, she’s playing a character who shares the same name (AM is short for Amihan, FYI) but has a completely different story. “This was the Amihan that was meant for me,” she says.

ngayon kaya paunine review
PHOTO BY Ngayon Kaya/T-Rex Entertainment
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Whether to the scrupulous film critic or to the everyday audience member, films like this can be viewed as simple, and almost formulaic. And I don’t deny that, nor do I feel the need to “defend” them from being labeled as such (Newsflash: Not every piece of cinema needs to be so profound and mind-boggling). Perhaps there are some tidbits in Ngayon Kaya where AM and Harold take the less expected route, which, in a way, is actually expected of a 21st century love team like them. 

With or without those though, it still stands firmly on its own as a showcase of the human experience of yearning. Yearning for a past that could’ve led to a different future, and wondering what if even just one thing was different. As is the case with Janine and Paulo’s characters, all we can do is yearn. We’ll never know what it would be like if this or that happened or didn’t happen. I’ll never know what it would’ve been like to have my crush like me back, if I chose a different course, or if I wasn’t gay. The world will never know what it would've been like if this god-forsaken pandemic never happened. It's a truth we swallow every day, for better or for worse.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
PHOTO BY Ngayon Kaya/T-Rex Entertainment

What I do know, though, is that Ngayon Kaya was something I needed to watch at this point in my life, and I have a strong feeling it'll be a similar sentiment for its future viewers. It only made me fall deeper in love with the schmaltzy Filipino rom-com genre, and I’m thankful that the realm of reality I’m in right now “destined” me to see it. Maybe that’s something the cast and crew can give themselves a pat on the back for—that even after a three year wait, their film couldn’t have been released at a better time for at least one person.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Ngayon Kaya is showing in theaters starting on June 22, 2022.

Preview is now on Quento!  Click here to download the app  for iOS and Android and enjoy more articles and videos from Preview and your favorite websites!

Related Stories from Preview.ph

Hey, Preview readers! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, and Twitter to stay up to speed on all things trendy and creative. We’ll curate the most stylish feed for you!

COMMENTS