An Honest Review Of 'Isa Pa, With Feelings'

You've GOT to watch this surprising tearjerker.
PHOTO: Isa Pa With Feelings/Black Sheep

The Long Plot, Sans Spoilers

Mara (Maine Mendoza), an aspiring architect, lives next door to Gali (Carlo Aquino), who is deaf. Fate brings them closer together when Gali becomes Mara's sign language teacher. Gali asks Mara to be his dance partner for a recital, and things escalate from there as they develop feelings for each other. However, it's undeniable that they're very different: She is "hearing" and he is deaf. Plus, she's going through a very low point in her life. Will they continue to be together despite what other people think? 

The Short, Honest Plot

It's a tearjerker that will seriously make you reevaluate how you interact with the people around you! 

The Main Actors And Where You Last Saw Them

Maine Mendoza as Mara

Maine currently stars in the GMA-7 weekend series Daddy's Girl! Her latest romance film was Imagine Me And You in 2016, where she starred opposite Alden Richards.

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Carlo Aquino as Gali 

Carlo last starred in the film Exes Baggage (2018), also produced by Black Sheep. It was his reunion film with former girlfriend and love team partner Angelica Panganiban. He also played a pivotal role in the TV series Play House in 2019. 

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Did You Know?

1. Carlo and Maine have a 10-year age gap! Maine turned 24 years old this year, while Carlo is 34.

2. Maine had this huge crush on Carlo a few years ago. In an interview on Tonight With Boy Abunda, Maine and Carlo shared that they first met during the premiere night of Carlo's film Meet Me In St. Gallen. Maine really, really wanted to have her photo taken with him because she was a fan! "Hindi lang a fan," she shared. "Naging crush ko rin talaga siya... 'Tsaka hindi po talaga siya tumatanda!"

3. Maine's former love team partner Alden encouraged his followers to go see her film on its opening day! Aww.  

4. The movie, which focuses strongly on the deaf community, has BUILT-IN SUBTITLES. This means that members of the community can watch it and enjoy the story, just like us!

What My Friend Thinks: 

"What I appreciate most about Isa Pa, With Feelings is how it let the viewers have a peek into the lives of the deaf community. I am now able to empathize more with them after learning about their struggles in the film, such as the lack of deaf schools in the country and their difficulty in communicating with other people! The film also humanizes them because it shows us that they're not that different from those who can hear. They can work, party, make friends, fall in love, and pursue their own hobbies and passions.Dave Guino

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What I Think:

To be perfectly honest, I didn't expect much from this film. The trailer was kind of cliché, and I felt like the only thing that would differentiate it from other rom-coms was the fact that Carlo's character Gali was deaf. But, wow, did this film prove me wrong! 

Maine Mendoza showed me that she can legit do drama. That moment where she says in the trailer, "Pero Gali, mahal kita"? That's just a patikim! Her role as Mara, while still cute and ~mostly~ positive, has problems that she doesn't want to talk about. She's super real and relatable, and *Slight Spoiler Alert* the way Mara does everything in her power to make Gali feel like he belongs makes me want to fall in love with someone and do crazy things for him, too. Her confrontation scenes with Carlo hurt me and made me cry, and I could hear the person next to me actually SOBBING! 

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Carlo Aquino's portrayal of Gali will make you believe that he's really deaf and not just acting out a role. Getting into character for, let's say, the role of an endearing and sincere male lead is hard enough. Make that character unable to hear and speak and it's a thousand times harder to play! Carlo couldn't use words to express his emotions in the film, but his eyes did the job. In every one of his scenes, Carlo's eyes SPOKE TO ME. I loved how the film didn't need a lot of cliché lines and dialogue—it proved that sometimes, we really don't need words to show our feelings. 

Last, but not least, I'd like to commend the film's whole production team for the way it presented the Filipino deaf community. I personally did not know a lot about them prior to watching the movie. I wasn't aware that school for the deaf is hella difficult, that they have specific sign language names, and that they can actually *listen* to music by feeling the vibrations from it! Isa Pa, With Feelings taught me (and everyone else in the movie theater) that I SHOULD try to be more sensitive, not just to those with hearing disabilities but to every person I encounter. It's definitely a movie that I'll watch again! 

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I'd Recommend It To:

EVERYONE. Legit: It's not just a love story. Isa Pa, With Feelings will teach you empathy and kindness and we should seriously watch more films like this one!

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