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An Honest Review Of 'On Vodka, Beers, And Regrets'

If you're looking for a kilig rom-com for Valentine's, this is not it.
PHOTO: youtube/viva films

The Long Plot, Sans Spoilers 

Jane (Bela Padilla) is a has-been actress who has a lot of angst and issues. She doesn't have a talent manager, a regular job, or support from family or friends. Add to that the fact that her boyfriend (Matteo Guidicelli) hits her. Jane's only source of comfort and refuge is alcohol. But when she drinks, things always go from bad to worse.

That is until she meets Francis (JC Santos), a musician whose band is still waiting for their big break. It turns out that Francis had a big crush on Jane back in high school, when she was at the peak of her showbiz career.

They share a drink and good conversation, and Jane finally has something good going for her. But old habits die hard, and she's stuck in a constant battle between choosing what is good for her and staying in her comfort zone.

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The Short, Honest Plot

On Vodka, Beers, And Regrets is a story about an alcoholic 20-something who keeps self-sabotaging, and a guy who makes a valiant effort to help her.

The Main Actors And Where You Last Saw Them

Bela Padilla as Jane

Bela was last seen in the MMFF blockbuster Miracle In Cell No.7, together with Aga Muhlach and child actress Xia Vigor.

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JC Santos as Francis

JC was also part of the cast of Miracle In Cell No.7, which was shown in theaters on Christmas day 2019.

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Matteo Guidicelli as Jane's boyfriend

Matteo was last seen in the 2019 crime comedy film Mina-Anud together with Dennis Trillo and Jerald Napoles.

Kean Cipriano as Jane's ex-boyfriend 

Kean had a stint in FPJ's Ang Probinsyano in 2019.

Did You Know?

  1. This is the fourth film that Bela and JC have appeared in together. The first two movies were 100 Tula Para Kay Stella and The Day Before Valentine's, followed by the recent hit remake Miracle In Cell No. 7.
  2. Bela Padilla, now 28, has been in showbiz for nearly 13 years! She was launched as a member of ABS-CBN's Star Circle Batch 15. Back then, she was called by her stage name Krista Valle. When she became a freelancer, she decided to use her real name, Krista Sullivan. She started using the name Bela Padilla when she joined GMA-7 in 2010.
  3. Additional Bela trivia: Her maternal grandmother is the sister of Robin Padilla's mom, Eva Cariño-Padilla, which makes her Robin's niece and Daniel and Kylie Padilla's second-degree cousin.
  4. In this movie, we get to hear a little bit of JC's singing voice. Not many people know that before JC became an actor in the Philippines, he was a performer in Hong Kong Disneyland and Universal Studios Singapore. He also got to study musical theater in New York for a few months before deciding to come back to the PH to try his luck as a TV and movie actor.
  5. On Vodka, Beers, And Regrets was written and directed by Irene Villamor, who also helmed the movies Sid And Aya: Not A Love Story, Meet Me In St. Gallen, and Camp Sawi.
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What I Think:

The movie is not exactly what I thought it would be. I saw the teaser but failed to watch the trailer, so I went into the cinema thinking it would be a millennial love story, something like Exes Baggage (with Angelica Panganiban and Carlo Aquino).

While there is a love story element in the movie, the focus was on Bela's character and why she was the way she was, why she drowned herself in alcohol, and why she kept on sabotaging herself. To be honest, the film was a bit too slow, dark, and artsy for my mainstream taste.

However, I can also honestly say that I'm glad I watched it. It's a good movie that any adult will be able to relate to. I mean, who among us can actually say that we've never found ourselves stuck in bad seasons or situations before?

It would've also been a shame if I didn't watch it, because I would have missed all the talent that was in this movie.

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Bela is really becoming one of my favorite Pinoy actresses. She doesn't act—she actually embodies and becomes the person she's portraying. She wears her heart on her sleeve and just exposes her soul with every performance. She's always gritty, raw, and brave. In this movie, Bela becomes Jane and she manages to show Jane's many layers. She proceeds to peel each layer with every scene until we see who Jane really is at the very core.

JC as Francis was an excellent ~support~ to Bela's Jane. Ever the team player, JC manages to stand out without ever overshadowing his co-actors. I saw this most recently in Miracle In Cell No. 7. He provided the comic relief and was super memorable in the movie, but never at the expense of the other characters. In On Vodka, JC was vulnerable, endearing, and super charming. Honestly, I've never seen him look SO good. You will root for his character and wish you could find someone like him to go home to.

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There's a reason Bela and JC keep getting paired up in movies and that is because they have chemistry. Even though this is by no means a kilig romance, I felt a real connection between the two characters.

Another standout talent is Matteo Guidicelli who plays Jane's abusive boyfriend. Who would have thought that Matteo, with his boy-next-door, bring-home-to-mom good looks, had it in him to become an effective antagonist?! 

Now, let's go to the writer and director of On Vodka, Irene Villamor. I love the way that this filmmaker tells her stories. Her movies, this one included, are always so visually rich and dynamic. In this movie, she gave me what felt like an intimate, in-your-face look into the lives of her characters. It was visually stimulating, but unlike other movies that are more concerned about showing stunning lights and landscapes just for the sake of it, every pretty and not-so-pretty picture in this film had a purpose.

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Overall, while this isn't a film I would normally go see, it was definitely worth my time and attention. 

What My Friend Thinks:

"If you're looking for a kilig rom-com for Valentine's, this is not it. The movie was about finding—and loving—oneself. It celebrates life's complications with humor, sadness, and love."—KZ

I'd Recommend It To:

People who appreciate talent, and those that can relate to being stuck in a situation you don't want to be in—whether it's because of an addiction, a dead-end relationship, or a job that makes you miserable. There's hope and light at the end of the tunnel. This movie can inspire you to keep going.

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