Movie review: Travel is the ultimate relationship test in 'Through Night and Day'

Fred Hawson

Posted at Nov 16 2018 11:48 AM

Ben and Jen have been sweethearts since they were in fourth grade in their common hometown of Baguio City. They were sure they wanted to marry each other.

After he proposed marriage and she accepted, Ben took Jen on a pre-nuptial trip to the ultimate travel destination of her bucket list -- Iceland. The two rented a camping van and drove around to all Jen's dream tourist spots all around the country. Facets of each other's personality they had never seen before are revealed as they get on each other's nerves during the two-week long road trip.

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Alessandra de Rossi is already well-known in coming up with excellent performances in quirky romances such as this one. Even more than "Kita Kita" and "12" before this, the De Rossi we see in this film was so carefree and natural as the sentimental and fickle Jen, it was as if this was her own personal story. This is why when the twist came, the audience, too, never saw it coming.

Paolo Contis' performance here as Jen's loyal and loving boyfriend Ben was a showcase of his range as an actor now. Ben was the character that faced the testy situations and made vital decisions during their fateful trip to Iceland, while it seemed that Jen was just being herself. The audience was seeing the story develop through Ben's eyes, and Contis pulled off this responsibility very well with his spot-on emotional responses.

Traveling companions, even if they are husband and wife, face the tendency to bicker during long trips because of differences in interests to pursue, choices of places to visit, tastes in food, and stamina for walking, among many other conflicts, big or small. They need to learn how to compromise in order to maintain harmony in their trip and in their relationship. De Rossi and Contis' chemistry worked wonders in this part of the film.

However, this story was more than just about their traveling woes as Ben and Jen whisk us along to the magnificent Icelandic landscape and the northern lights. There was still an Act 3 which will make us reflect on and even question our own ideas and impressions of what happened during their trip. Again, De Rossi and Contis both rose to the acting challenge posed by their respective characters and the issues they faced three years after Iceland.

Director Veronica B. Velasco lovingly and engagingly told the love story of Ben and Jen. The audience cared about these two and was positively reacting to their dialogue, written by Noreen Capili. The pace slowed down in Act 3, which included a scene where the theme song "I Will Be Here" (by American Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman) was sung in full, so the prolonged ending may make some viewers impatient. However by that time, we are all so invested in the two of them, no one rose to leave until the final fade-out. 8/10

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."