Dingdong, Marian movie mobbed

PNS — THE SM theatre where the premiere of “You to Me Are Everything” was held couldn’t accommodate the huge crowd that came to watch. So many people weren’t able to get in, but those who did weren’t disappointed as it’s a feel good movie aimed to please viewers. The story is tailor made for the Dingdong Dantes-Marian Rivera love team and their fans were shrieking with delight during the film’s various “kilig” moments.

Marian is Iska, a mountain maiden in the strawberry fields of Benguet who inherits a huge fortune in Manila from her wealthy father. She lives by herself in this huge mansion formerly owned by the family of Rafael (Dingdong), whose congressman dad is jailed due to corruption making Rafael a pauper. The drunken Rafael goes home to their old house one night and Marian is shocked to see him inside her room. But she listens to his drunken monologue and takes pity on him, even taking him to his new humbler residence the next morning. Iska is like a fish out of water in her new affluent surroundings and she needs a business manager to guide her. Guess who she picks to do this? Rafael, of course. He takes the job only because he intends to borrow a huge amount from her later on to start his own business. But you know how these stories go, one thing leads to another for the obligatory happily ever after kind of ending.

The story is another take on the age old Cinderella story, with Iska having two scheming stepsisters (Krista Sullivan and Andrea Torres), but the difference is that her stepmom (Pinky Amador) is not evil. As usual, there’s this big ballroom scene where the wicked stepsisters are expecting Iska to make a fool of herself in a tacky “sagala” gown. Unknown to them, Rafael has taken her to a stylist and she arrives looking resplendent and gorgeous in a stunning red gown.

There’s really no big conflict in the movie. Both Rafael and Iska are already committed to someone else (Dingdong to Isabel Oli and Marian to AJ Dee), but even these hindrances are quickly taken out of the way. In the end, we realize that the conflict is not really provided by some external forces, as is usually the case in love stories like this. The conflicts here are more of an internal nature, emanating from within the core of the lead characters themselves. Will Rafael ever find some mercy in his heart to forgive his erring dad and realize what a positive influence Iska is in his life? Will Iska be willing to give up all the luxuries she has tasted in the city for a simpler life in the mountains where she grew up, including the city boy who has captured her heart?

Director Mark Reyes makes sure his leads are both sympathetic characters and he’s served well by Dingdong and Marian who both give very endearing performances. Dingdong is really one of the most dashing leading men we have these days. As for Marian, we’re just uncomfortable at times with the way Iska’s jologs ways are laid on too thick. She has such a heart of gold she’ll even go out of her way to help a kitten that can’t get down from a tree and, instead of punishing her mean stepsisters, she even rewards them with a huge part of her inheritance. But it’s to Marian’s credit that she’s able to credibly carry all the ridiculous things she was made to do in the movie, including a scene where she suddenly sings and dances in a serious boardroom conference. Technical credits are fine and the rustic beauty of Benguet is captured vividly on the big screen.