He said, she said: A UP-UST couple’s thoughts on ‘Alone/Together’

February 20, 2019 – Cam Arcilla and Noli Ermitanio

When Black Sheep productions first dropped hints on releasing a film with our schools in it, our initial reaction, of course, was: “Okay, we have to watch this.”

We’ve been together for almost six years. In this relationship, we always take pride in our university roots. Noli is from UP MasKom and now in Malcolm, and Cam is a Thomasian journalist. Often, comparisons are due. Which school has the best street food? The better basketball team in the UAAP? Or which campus has the more scenic views? The list goes on and on.

Then it was set in stone: We really had to watch LizQuen’s “Alone/Together.”

The couple trying to recreate LizQuen's pictures

So, to set the mood before we actually got to watching the movie, we tried to reenact at least what the trailer suggested during our post-Valentine’s date.

The UP Lantern Parade is still months away so we attended the closest thing on the calendar—the UP Fair. We also went on the lookout for that “cursed bench” Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil were sitting on. If we only had more time, we would’ve ended up savoring Larry’s isaw complete with the sawsawan in a disposable cup just like the two actors.

Together, we watched “Alone/Together” on a Monday afternoon in an almost empty cinema that somehow made us feel we were alone. It is the newest romantic-drama under Antoinette Jadaone’s belt that took us on an emotional ride.

Here are our thoughts about the movie:

Is it a typical romantic film? 

He said: No, and certainly not those grandiose dream-like teleseryes. It’s not a purely cry-fest, shout-fest, and drama-fest I often find unimaginative for a love story. And as expected of a Jadaone film, it’s not all cheesiness like all those make-cry love films. 

She said: I’m a hopeless romantic so I’ve seen a lot of rom-coms and romantic dramas in my lifetime. What’s different about Alone/Together is that it’s relatable—not just for couples who are from UP and UST—but also to the mid-20s who feel they have lost themselves in the process of building their career and achieving their dreams. While some parts were predictable, Jadaone found a way to somehow veer away from the typical Filipino love story formula.

Why did you like it?

He said: For its real-world, imperfect portrayal of love. I like how it dwelt on the what-ifs and all those unanswered questions. I’m kind of a fan of stories with open-ended conclusions; at some points in my life I had my own what-ifs—which as of the present I don’t need answering because I'm happy with what I have (and who I’m with—naks!).

She said: The cinematography is great and I really love the soundtrack! It pulls out all the nostalgia. Liza’s character, Christine, and I are of the same age so I can totally connect myself to her situation. And the UP-UST element, of course.

What are some of the things you didn't agree with the film? 

He said: It didn’t put much background on the love story of the protagonists as much as I expected it. Also, it featured more art museums than the schools—the expectation of the latter was pretty much built up by the trailer and how they promoted the film.

She said: Where was UST in the film??? I mean, yes, UP is scenic but at least put a Miguel de Benavides cameo in it. I feel for you, Raf.

What was your first thought after watching Alone/Together? 

He said: Being in a relationship doesn’t need to fit your idealistic notion of what is love. In the real world, everyone is bruised, broken and with their own demons and failures, be it in love and in life in general. You make do with what you and your partner have.

She said: It’s never too late to change plans. You can fail along the way and make mistakes here and there, but you always have that opportunity to redeem yourself. May it be in your love life or career, you can still pick up the pieces where you left off and start again.

Overall rating

He said:  I’d give it a 8. I’d watch it again—if I want to reminisce on my past love life (or if I want to experience nostalgia).

She said: 6, because I am still disappointed that my beloved alma mater was nowhere to be found. Kidding! But I can say this coming-of-age movie should definitely be watched by those who are lost in love and life.