‘One Great Love’ review: One grating love triangle

Eric Quizon’s One Great Love is an irritating slog of a film.

The characters that Quizon forces his audience to care for are either morally callous, unforgivably clueless or just plain stupid. Watching the film is like being stuck in a room along with 3 unbearably stodgy individuals engaging in all sorts of syrupy flirtation without rhyme or reason.

It's discomforting being fed with these dislikable characters making love the ultimate center of their respective worlds even if it blatantly trespasses the limits of human reason.

More torturous than tantalizing

One Great Love just isn’t a very entertaining film. It's more torturous than it is tantalizing.

The film centers on Zyra (Kim Chu) who throughout the nearly two hours allotted to tell the film’s measly plot is flip-flopping between loving her recurring charmer Carl (JC De Vera) and her best friend Ian (Dennis Trillo). It isn’t as if the choice is extremely difficult.

Carl, an airplane pilot, has inexplicably and painfully left Zyra so many times, but with just an overly convenient comeback with his eyes full of tears and a ready explanation why he’s left over either dinner or a jacuzzi, he is loved again. This, even if Ian, a responsible cardiologist, is always there, selflessly keeping Zyra company, and even marrying her when she’s nearly given up on love.

It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discern who deserves to be loved by poor Zyra, but Quizon has to come up with a feature length film so he stretches the material to the point of tedium.

One Great Love scrambles for content. To convince that Carl is a viable romantic partner, the film, possibly hurriedly written by Gina Marissa Tagasa, who is credited for having penned boilerplate melodramas since the mid-80’s like Lino Brocka’s Natutulog Pa Ang Diyos (1988) and has recently been slaving for television, indulges in flashbacks of their times together.

Frustratingly, the flashbacks are barely persuasive in even hinting that Carl is the titular one great love, as all that Tagasa miserably writes are flaccid scenes of the two meeting and aimlessly toying with each other through empty flattery and gift-giving.

HAPPINESS? Carl (JC de Vera) tries to make Zyra happy, despite the many times he broke her heart.

HAPPINESS? Carl (JC de Vera) tries to make Zyra happy, despite the many times he broke her heart.

Shallow romance

One Great Love is one shallow romance.

“Dubious, dubious is the word,” exclaims Zyra’s sister (Miles Ocampo), who also happens to be the only character in the film with a shred of common sense, as Zyra confides to her about meeting Carl. Zyra’s sister is of course referring to Carl, but she could also be referring to the film she’s a character in since absolutely nothing in the film strikes as sincere or authentic.

Chiu is just going through the motions of playing a foolish girl with no other worthwhile preoccupation but to pine for love. She weeps, whines and warbles, totally oblivious to the fact that not even a torrent of her tears will make her character’s plight plausible. Trillo is wooden. De Vera is dull.

Quizon, who not only directs this mess but also plays Zyra’s father, is a lousy distraction, throwing punchlines that do not provide any relief from this mostly humorless affair.

The point of One Great Love is clear.

It is a romance that asks which would matter more: fate, as represented by Carl who appears at the most serendipitous of moments, or reliable friendship, as represented by Ian who is always there through thick or thin, for either pleasure or pain.

However, the film is just too circuitous to be interesting enough to raise any form of discussion. Here, story is definitely not the king. It is coincidence, wrought not by the film’s themes but by laziness and convenience.

Inaccurately titled

One Great Love is inaccurately titled.

There isn’t one great love in Quizon’s film, there’s just one grating love triangle. – Rappler.com


Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' Tirad Pass.

Since then, he's been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.