On Vodka, Beers, and Regrets — movie review

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Before this “On Vodka, Beers, and Regrets” movie, the first Bela Padilla and JC Santos team-up was in “100 Tula Para Kay Stella” (2017) that was written and directed by Jason Paul Laxamana, which became the box office hit of the first Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP).

The following year, Bela-JC tandem made a comeback for another PPP entry of Laxamana entitled “The Day After Valentine’s.”

This year, the couple reunited in another dramatic romance under the pen and direction of Irene Emma Villamor.

Dig deeper into the movie

Jane (character of Bela in the movie) was an accomplished child and teen actress. However, her career had been on the wane after she was involved in a scandal with another actor.

One day, while having another drinking binge in a bar, Brisom band frontman Francis (JC Santos) noticed and friended her, who then helped her get through that night, and several other nights to follow.

Practically, the whole film shows a drunk Jane, perhaps 95% from scene 1. She was catty, unprofessional, annoying, reckless — very unlikable. 

Jane’s scene with a bat in the parking lot was teeming with imminent danger, wherein the scene with a shattered shard of wine glass was exquisitely pouring away with hopeless despair. Pappel’s painfully explicit song “F**king Circumstance” was the perfect song to accompany Jane’s downward spiral.

Bela Padilla still managed to shine through her raw, dedicated performance amid all that emotional muck, bringing out Jane’s vulnerability and humanity at the front.

On the other hand, JC Santos has given a reliable sweet shoulder and sounding board in Francis’ very supportive role. Francis had long admiration for Jane since her “Friday Nights” breakout film, but now, at the lowest point in her life, he was able to meet his crush. He became the breath of fresh air for Jane but in her denial, she did not seem to realize his worth.

Santos was also able to show off his singing chops in a few articulate songs with the Brisom band, “Waking Lives” and “Pilot,” standing out in the emo music soundtrack of the film as well as his consistency in dramatic acting.

Other Cast members

Matteo Guidicelli was a sinister presence as Jane’s fellow actor and boyfriend Ronnie.

Also, Jas Rodriguez was playing Kelly’s role, a promising film ingenue who was dangerously taking the same road Jane was stuck in now.

Rio Locsin makes a special appearance as the strange mother of Jane who was still recovering from being an alcoholic’s wife.

Sam, an ex-boyfriend and Jane’s major life-altering indiscretion, was played by Kean Cipriano. Cipriano wore another hat as a musical scorer in this film, and he made some excellent tuning choices to accompany key scenes.

Takeaways on “On Vodka, Beers, and Regrets”

Padilla and Santos have played characters engaged in a complex angst-filled relationship in all the three films they had together.

The angst in this latest one, however, was much more powerful than the previous two movies.

Bela Padilla’s depth of alcoholism portrayed in this film was already approaching the level of “Leaving Las Vegas” of Mike Figgis in 1995.

On Vodka, Beers, and Regrets is a full-on hard drama from start to finish, not for those looking for a feel-good rom-com movie.

The writer-director Irene Emma Villamor proved once again that she was the master of the anti-love story, from “Meet Me in St. Gallen,” “Sid and Aya,” “Ulan,” and now, “On Vodka, Beers, and Regrets.”

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