“Walang KaParis”: A Film About Soulmates, Third Chances, and Letting Go

Tatlong tao lang daw ang totoong mamahalin mo sa buhay,” Empoy Marquez’s Jojo tells Alessandra de Rossi’s Mary at the beginning of Prime Video’s new Pinoy romantic comedy “Walang KaParis.”

Cheekily, Mary replies, “Ibig sabihin may tatlong chance pa ako sa’yo.

What initially presents itself as a formulaic romcom where the girl chases after the guy until they fall fast in love, “Walang KaParis” directed by Sigrid Bernardo tells a rather unique tale about an imperfect relationship between two people who never seem to agree at the same time that they are destined for each other.

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It begins with Mary, who introduces herself to Jojo initially as Marie, insisting that she and Jojo are meant to be together after running to each other in Paris, France years after they first met back home in the Philippines. Jojo, however, doesn’t recall ever meeting Marie before and tries pushing her away, unimpressed by her efforts to pursue him. Eventually, they do grow close and become a couple, yet Jojo can never bring himself to feel as intensely for Marie as Marie does for him. In six months, he breaks up with her.

It seems all too sudden despite the glacial pace that this first part moves. In fact, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where Jojo had felt his emotions for Marie wane amid the bombardment of scenes where Marie openly expresses her devotion to him as he slowly warms up to her. To put it simply, it doesn’t make sense.

That is, until the second part comes.

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This second part of “Walang KaParis” is a flashback to Marie, who we learn is actually Mary, getting reacquainted with Jojo, who is really named Joseph, as university students at a Pares diner in Baguio. It quickly dawns on us that this is where their story truly began, when they first fell in love before an uncontrollable circumstance drove them apart. Compared to the scenes filmed in Paris, this flashback is so much more gripping and enjoyable, made more special with the undeniable onscreen chemistry between Empoy and Alessandra. There’s just something so endearing with how this pure and innocent young love was portrayed that made the shocking twist so unexpectedly heartbreaking, even if the audience already knew from the very beginning of the film that it was bound to happen. If anything, this flashback made having to sit through a boring first part worth it.

What gets you is the epilogue, though, when the two meet again for the third time. You know that they’re much more mature now, having healed and worked on their own selves, and this third encounter is, for them, “right place, right time.” And its open-endedness is perfect. We’re unsure what happens next but we are free to make our guesses. I personally wouldn’t have wanted the film to conclude in any other way.

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All in all, “Walang KaParis” is a slow unraveling of a moving story which makes up for its predictability. As the credits roll, what we’re left with is an important lesson on love: if it’s meant for you, it’ll find its way back to you, but you have to either fight for it or be prepared to receive it with open arms.

“Walang KaParis” is now available for streaming in 240 countries on Prime Video starting March 23, 2023.

(ALSO READ: Alessandra de Rossi and Empoy Marquez Are Reuniting for a New RomCom Set in Paris)

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