By: Shaina Semaña
Over the past week, Filipino Netflix users rejoice as two local films take over the top two spots on the streaming site’s daily most-watched series and movies. One of these two films is the tearjerker romantic-comedy Through Night & Day, which instantly captured the hearts of many.
The film, first released in 2018, tells the story of long-time couple Ben (played by Paolo Contis) and Jen (played by Alessandra de Rossi), who went on a trip to Iceland after getting engaged, unintentionally putting their relationship to a test. A lot of viewers got instantly hooked with the film, taking over social media to express their thoughts and admiration for the film. What’s so charming about this seemingly simple romcom, you ask? Check how we break down what makes Through Night & Day a must-watch and recommended film. Spoilers alert though! Some themes and plot twists of the film will be mentioned here so, if you haven’t seen it, head over Netflix to catch and know what you’re missing!
Now, if you have seen it, here we go, SEA Wave’s High Five movie review of Through Night and Day!
Paolo and Alessandra’s Chemistry
The film stars prime actors Paolo Contis and Alessandra de Rossi—sounds experimental for a romantic pair but somehow, they worked. They look good together without looking like a cheesy or forced loveteam. They do not only finish each other’s sentences but also has an impeccable timing. It was as if you’re watching an actual couple who has been together for as long as 13 years. This chemistry was very important in conveying the story of two people who own a big part of each other’s life. The same chemistry which is pivotal in establishing and, eventually, creating the conflict in the relationship.
Of course, this chemistry is thanks to Paolo and Alex’s flawless acting—exactly what you would expect from veteran actors like them. Their performance was simple and very natural. They could easily make you laugh, frustrated and shed tears as if you are feeling the same emotions the characters are feeling, may it be falling in love or having your heart wrecked over a breakup. Fun fact! Screenwriter Noreen Capili revealed in a Facebook post that Paolo and Alex were given their own freedom in exploring the characters, so the take is very raw and natural, showing off that the two really have a good chemistry on and off the screen.
Storytelling and dialogues
If not for the massive Facebook posts and tweets online, I wouldn’t know or even prepare myself for the emotional rollercoaster Through Night & Day promises. From its trailer, you’d think that it’s like most mainstream films these days about falling in love and travelling. Watching it, it’s pretty much it—until you get through the latter of the film and it slaps you with a breakup and everything went downhill. The plot twist was unexpected—almost out of the blue—but somehow, it worked right.
There are few shortcomings in the writing, but we can give credit for seamlessly weaving a heavy plot twist into story. I, personally, appreciate how the film made the seemingly simple incidents and characters’ sudden decisions to the substance of the conflict. Plus, we also have to give credit to the Ben and Jen’s witty and snappy dialogue exchanges, which is probably one of the strengths of the film. In the same Facebook post, Noreen explained that the idea of the film came from Alex herself and writing it is a collaborative effort.
Travel and Relationship Goals
Much like a lot of Filipino romantic films in the recent years, Through Night & Day involves travelling to beautiful foreign country—because, what’s more beautiful than a love story? A love story told with a scenic country as a backdrop. In this case, that back drop is the aurora borealis in Iceland. It wasn’t that relatable, considering that an Iceland trip is a very expensive trip. But what the film captured so right is how travelling with your partner can really make or break your relationship. No matter how long you’ve been together, a trip will surely take your relationship to the test.
Travelling with your partner will test your relationship. You’d argue over taking IG-worthy photos, directions, even over the itinerary—the film perfectly illustrated how these tiny trivial things could build up and potentially ruin your relationship if you lack two important things—patience and compromise. Two things that, at some point, Ben and Jen lost. And in the absence of these, they ended up taking each other for granted, forgetting each other’s needs and arriving at inexplainable misunderstanding, ultimately, finding themselves facing the biggest bump in their relationship.
Love for Real
If you’re a true chick flick fanatic, you definitely have been exposed to all sorts of fairytale-like love stories with a promising happy ending. Through Night & Day though belongs to that tiny but very special group of chick flicks which warms and breaks your heart at the same time. Since Ben and Jen have been together for more than a decade, the film went past the visualization of a blooming romance. Instead, it illustrated how long-term relationships actually look like. It’s not always rainbows and butterflies but it’s comforting and familiar. One minute you’re finishing each other’s sentences, then the next, you’d be pissing each other off over a nonsense argument.
The showed the imperfections of relationships, the endless conflicts and bickering, and—spoilers alert—the fact that long term relationships can still end. And yet, despite these, it still left the viewers craving for a sincere love like that of Ben and Jen. Despite the not-so-happy ending, it leaves the viewers hopeful. Just like what hopeless romantics are.
Regrets and could have been’s
As established, you are in for a rollercoaster ride of emotions in Through Night & Day. Just when you’re mending your heart over a fictional breakup, you will find your heart shattering into tinier pieces when the plot twist was revealed. On the latter half of the film, we discovered that Jen suffered from brain tumor and Ben wasn’t there to be with her. Ben was filled with guilt and regret when he found out—emotions that pierce from the screen through the viewers’ hearts (thanks to Paolo’s very realistic portrayal). Suddenly, the film isn’t talking about relationship goals anymore. All of a sudden, it was telling the viewers a rather painful lesson on patience and regrets.
Through Night & Day isn’t perfect—it has a few shortcomings, much like every other film. For instance, we could have had more context about Ben’s new partner, Abi, or we could have a better insight about Astrocytoma then, there would have been more awareness about it. But what the film captured so well and, perhaps, one of the values it is trying to teach its viewers is that life and love is full of surprises and unexpected plot twists. In a relationship, there will always be ups and downs and when trials come, giving up should always be the last option. We never really know what’s going to happen next month, tomorrow, or in the next hour. But we should always choose to understand and be there for each other.
Through Night & Day is not a feel-good movie—if anything, it is a film guaranteed to leave you ugly sobbing in the end. But it’s a film worth-watching, especially when you feel like letting yourself get the feels and learn a thing or two about love and relationship as well as life as a whole, or when you need a little help in planning your Iceland trip. Indeed, romcom or romance drama movie goals are put together in Through Night and Day – good storytelling, acting, love and life lessons and a magnificent backdrop!
We give Through Night and Day a rating of 3.5 out of 5 waves. So, head over to Netflix to watch it and put the film on your list for future reference because it’s not just worth-watching but worth re-watching as well!