A prequel to the unproduced teleplays on Wattpad, GAYA SA PELIKULA tells us about Karl, a 19-year-old recluse architecture student in the middle of an identity crisis. He is forced by his parents to move into his uncle’s condo unit to learn to live alone, a family tradition, prior to the start of the second semester of college. Pressured to have enough money to earn his keep, Karl takes on odd jobs online. But when one of his major clients suddenly goes MIA, he is left short on funds and without a means to pay for his utilities. An opportunity presents itself when his neighbor, the mysterious Vlad, whom he despises for being inconsiderate, gets himself in a sticky situation — hiding from his own family, and proposes that they become housemates for the rest of the semestral break in exchange for rent. (Source: globestudios.ph) Edit Translation
- Bahasa Indonesia
Where to Watch Like in the Movies
Cast & Credits
- Ian PangilinanJose Vladimir Austria / "Vlad"Main Role
- Paolo PangilinanKarl Frederick AlmasenMain Role
- Adrienne VergaraJudit Heloise Austria [Vlad's sister]Support Role
- Yesh BurceAnna MarcosSupport Role
- Justine PeñaMaria Susan Ching / "Sue"Support Role
- Che RamosAdelaida AlmasenSupport Role
WARNING: this is NOT a review for someone who has not seen the show. I just need to express all my thoughts somewhere.
So… Are you bored and tired of the “I’m not gay, I only like you” plot lines in BLs? How much do you wish some shows would address the hardship of coming out? The fear and confusion related to it? How much do you wish to see a well written, heartbreaking conflict that is not based on the poorly written and ridiculous random jealousy? How much do you wish to see well written supporting female characters, whose whole arc is not just “I ship two cute boiz together”? You get all of that and more in Like in the Movies.
The story revolves around the exploration of sexuality and identity. What makes us who we are? How much should we compromise between who we are, want to be and who others want us to be? How to react when you are both pulled back in line and pushed out of it by people you love and care about? How to make a relationship work when one person already finished the race, but the other is not even on the track yet? Each character represents a different story, different perspective and different point of view. Their actions might make us angry, sad, heartbroken, happy or annoyed, but we see the reasoning behind what they do. We might disagree, but we understand. And this just proves how good of a writing quality Like in the Movies presents. There are no silly villains, nor over the top crazy exes or evil parents. There are just people. Real people with flaws, fears, hopes and dreams.
⇛ “Don’t be scared of the word. You can say it. I don’t mind”.
Vlad was an emotional fluff that spoke the truth and gave everyone some real lessons. I cried with words he had spoken. He showed how much being an educator can accomplish. Knowing Karl has no bad intentions, he was willing to explain everything to him, was patient but firm about his views. As someone who would rather sit down and explain things over getting defensive and offended myself, I truly appreciated and loved that about Vlad. Of course, it was not his responsibility to guide Karl, but his understanding approach just impressed me. Communication is the key, not only in romantic relationships but also any type of social interactions. He didn’t play mind games, spoke what he thought and felt and it was up to others to accept it or not.
His story is also truly heartbreaking. It shows how stigma and homophobia in a society can shape the way we see and interpret situations, especially at a young age. In the past he associacted every negative and bad acition of people around him as a result of him being gay, even if it was not true. But the truth is often meaningless. It’s the perception that matters. It’s the perception that guides your thoughts and feelings. And, like in Vlad case, it takes years to look at the situation from a different perspective. If society did not present being gay as something bad, Vlad would never assume his dad left coz of that. He would never assume his mom was against his relationship because she did not want her son to be gay.
Vlad represents someone who fully accepted himself. Who is proud about his identity and does not want to hide it. Who, after facing so much hurt and struggle, does not waver. Who wants to proudly give and receive love. Who just wants to be happy.
⇛ “I don’t know if I’m like you. I don’t even know who I am”
Karl never had a chance to explore who he was. He lived for his brother. He lived as his brother. Getting away from the expectations put on him by his family, allowed him to slowly learn about himself. And it was scary. It was unfamiliar. It felt great when he didn’t think about it, but you cannot shut the thoughts out for eternity. You need to face them one day, but if that day comes too fast, if you are not ready… that can break you. Or push you even more into a corner. And that’s what happened with Karl. External circumstances forced him to face it when he was not ready, when he felt emotionally confused and vulnerable.
He was brave enough to tell his parents about his dream, about the goal of switching majors, about his will to chase his dreams. It was a tough decision to make and required a lot of strength. The aftermath of his decision was still unknown for him, and yet others expected from him to do it again. To face the expectations of his parents. To rebuild the identity he had so far, to completely reevaluate how he thought about himself. No time to think, no time to accept, just expected to act according. But he deserved that time. He deserved a minute to explore and get accustomed to who he was. Coming out should have been his decision, that he made on his own term, in the time that he felt comfortable about.
⇛ “But I just don’t know how to get to you (...). I’m still navigating through this.”
Judit represents what happens when driven by guilt, you go from one extreme to the other. She is clearly close to being paranoid and definitely overprotective over Vlad. Taking into consideration the pain she caused him in the past with the words she said, now she does everything she can to save Vlad from disappointment and heartbreak. And she definitely crosses the line doing so. She acts that fake ally persona, which is closer to fujoshi. Not knowing the full story and observing her behavior in the first two episodes, one could assume she is another crazy female character without depth who just ships all the guys that are in close proximity (flashbacks to Zol and her “shipping my brother and writing stories about it” behaviour). But then, with episode six we get a complete shift of the perspective and actual explanation for her action. While I still didn’t like her overpowering and overbearing presence, I understood where it came from. As Judit said: she is still navigating through it. It’s obvious her and Vlad never seriously talked about the situation, the past and how to move forward. During that episode she faced her mistakes for the first time, she apologized for the first time. Before that she did what she thought was correct, not what actually would be helpful. As always kids, communication is the key. But even after that confrontation, she still does not completely change her way. And it’s frustrating, but also realistic. You cannot just change who you were for years after one honest conversation. It takes time, it takes others pointing out your mistakes countless times. Talking with Vlad was a great start. But it was just a start. All the hard work is still ahead of her.
⇛ “I don’t want to blame her one day for all the time that I have lost for myself”.
One could say that statement and Anna “running away” from her child is selfish, but it’s the opposite of that. She is not giving up on her kid, but she is not willing to give up on herself too. She is a mother, a great one, who raised her child basically alone for years, but she is also just Anna, a woman that needs time for herself. Need time to chase her dream, to live and have fun. How could she make her child happy and encourage her to work hard if she gave up on herself. Words are not enough, you need to be a true model for your child. And that’s what she is doing. Feelings are not something we can control. She can love her child with all her heart but still have these small “what ifs” creeping and poisoning the relationship and bond they have. What if I didn't have her? Where would I be? Who would I be? Would I be more happy? Would I be more successful? How would my life look like? Thoughts that we have no control over. So yes, Anna is a badass person and amazing mother. Even tho she is just a supporting character, she also tells an important story that brings more value to the series itself.
Moving away from the characters, I have to admit something: this show slapped me across my dumbass face quite a few times and I’m glad it did. I like to think I’m not one to judge and jump to conclusions (especially negative ones) quickly, and this drama showed me I’m not quite there yet.
It started with the opening scene and my “glorious” thought “wow… way to start a BL with a cliche of 2 pretty guys dancing in random pretty location”. Boi I was wrong, and when we finally got to see the full scene in episode five, I just felt stupid. It was not just cliche, it had powerful messages and quite an impact. “Maybe that’s why it’s such a big deal to me because it’s just a small thing and I still got deprived of it” is quite honestly one of my favorite lines, one of the most impactful, and one that represents well how twisted and wrong the world is.
Another moment that hit me hard was the Judit and Vlad’s conversation I already mentioned. I truly thought she was just hyped fujoshi and there is nothing more to it. And yet again, I was wrong and I felt stupid for jumping to conclusion when nothing was even presented to me to validate my position. Don’t know if these two moments say more about me or the BLs as part of the entertainment industry. I was fed poorly written female characters and cliche plot lines for so long, sometimes it’s hard to have higher expectations.
Another thing I loved about Like In The Movies: it had big brain energy. It was just clever and no second of screen time was wasted. All the small interactions and details were meaningful and I’m legit too dumb to even notice them all. I just loved how scenes, interactions, small behaviors connected and were explained at different parts of the story. Vlad not liking people touching his hair? Far more than “just coz he doesn’t like it”. Small details like that, turned out to have such an emotional and deep root for them. Vlad finishing a scary story with the “corpse in the closet” idea, and then he finds a photo of Karl’s brother in the closet, thinking it’s Karl. Truly big brain energy. There were many moments when I went ”damn… that’s why they showed it a few episodes ago”. Everything connects and everything has a meaning and I’m about to cry from happiness overwhelmed by this perfection.
Now, let’s talk music. I am not an ost person. Unless the soundtrack is truly outstanding or truly bad, I don’t pay that much attention to it. Here we have the case of “truly outstanding”. Each song was just beautiful. They were perfectly fitting for the moments and scenes they were played for. The lyrics were just the cherry on top of this beautiful cake that brought me to tears. This is ALSO the case of big brain energy.
You know what else is big brain energy? The credit scenes! I’m amazed. Truly. You can tell how much care and thought was put into this show when they decided to even use the credits as a way to convey the message, describe the relationship and it’s progression. As I said, not a second was wasted. There were no fillers. No line wasted. Everything was crafted perfectly to give us this masterpiece, with quotes at the end of the episodes being the dot at the end of the sentence. Tying it all together, leaving us hopeful, emotional and grateful.
Tho this will never be seen by anyone involved in the production, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. This was an amazing, emotional and engaging journey that will stay with me forever. I cared for the characters deeply, as if they were truly my friends. I cried, laughed and screamed with anger. Thank you for making me this emotional mess.
This is the story that everyone deserves to seeAlright, so now I can finally write my real review of Gaya Sa Pelikula, when I first saw the trailer of Gaya, I knew I had to watch this series cause the trailer had so much packed into it but I was skeptical because I have seen so many series with like great trailers and the series would turn out to be absolute trash but that’s not what Gaya Sa Pelikula was.
IF YOU ARE READING THIS, I WOULD LIKE TO START WITH THE ENDING QUOTE OF GAYA
‘LIBERATING LOVE AND EQUAL RIGHTS, TO EVERYONE OF US, THE REAL FIGHT IS ON THE OUTSIDE. WE WILL WELCOME YOU WHEN YOU ARE READY’. This is the most important message of the series and what I want you to carry away with you
Gaya is what I consider a real-life series, where it reflects actual real-life series. I am so glad it didn’t have any of the tropes you see in a lot of Thai series [I pointed out Thai because I have seen Taiwan doesn’t do this as much even Pinoy series don’t], like the ‘I am straight bro, but I just love you because mystical forces in the galaxy fell in the right places’, no, they gave me real gay characters, they gave me some hard truths about the coming out process, how some people saying the word ‘GAY’ or treat it like a taboo sometimes, they showed most of the fear and emotions that accompany coming, they didn’t paint it like this rosy path and all love, the internal conflict so many people face to come out and be themselves. Gaya was not another annoying jealousy storyline [eyes tharntype 2], it was a series that actually kept its cast small and made sure that no character was left undeveloped and they actually had a story to tell, one which they executed perfectly.
Gaya Sa Pelikula is the life story of you or someone you know; it feels really right from the get-go and everything done in it has a purpose and is very relatable. The story, cast, soundtrack, and acting are a heavenly match and have easily stepped up to become my best BL of 2020, in fact, I stopped characterizing this as a BL but a story about two people meeting and falling in love with each other, it almost emphasizes the fact that their story can be yours too.
Don’t get me wrong when I say I classify the story as a normal story, that’s not to take away from it as bl because they did definitely handle the theme of discovering one’s sexuality and oneself but it felt real to me. I almost don’t know how to explain. The cast members each had a story to tell, a different struggle to tell, a different perspective and it explored different backgrounds meeting and interacting with each other. Like the person who struggles with an identity crisis and a feeling of inadequacy [sometimes linked to their sexuality], the protective family member who sometimes oversteps certain boundaries to protect the one they love, the person with the happy smile all the time but comes from pain and struggle and how that influences their action, they might make you mad, they might have made you tear up a little, they may have made you happy or disagree with their actions but there was no wasted character, each had a purpose and honestly watching this while my day the series was like a balance, I didn’t have to deal with illogical jealousy from stupid exes kidnapping dogs for no absolute reason or trying to murder someone and everyone hugs it out at the end, no each character had a purpose and I loved that about them, that they felt real, they felt like actual people not some weird fantasy of some random person of what a BL feels likes.
CHARACTERS AND DIALOGUES
I feel the dialogues amongst the characters gave a lot of background to the characters and made them somewhat ‘real’ to me. So I would review the characters because of the dialogue they had, especially keywords or parts they said that had a lot of impact on me.
The lead characters, Karl and Vlad have such insane and beautiful chemistry, its mind-blowing, their flow is just so natural, they did not feel forced, which brought a lot to the story. To talk about the characters I would intertwine it with some key sentences and I would actually refer to this person on YouTube that made the best reviews after each episode [ if you check the comment section you would get what I mean]
Vlad is gay and open about it, he is outgoing, quite stubborn sometimes, and gives you this first impression of a rebel, but we come to see that he is this soft, cute loving guy, who is quite vulnerable and has been hurt before. Karl is someone who grew up with expectations and dreams of another placed on him, so he has never gotten the chance to be a person of his own and he is very reluctant to shake the status quo but, shortly after meeting Vlad, he becomes more courageous about his own person.
Here are some lines that I found remarkably interesting and telling of the series
1. ‘I will not be the plot device to trigger someone else’s identity crisis’
This line could honestly easily one of the most powerful lines in the series and one of the scenes that Gaya started to pull away from other series which give us this usual trope of, ‘YOU ARE DIFFERENT’ ‘YOU MAKE ME FEEL THINGS I CAN’T EXPLAIN’ ‘It is JUST YOU AND NO ONE ELSE EVER’, now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there aren’t people that have only been with one person of the same gender, I mean my friend is an example but the fact that we have been overfed this trope in almost every series makes it tiring and annoying, SOTUS, Dark Blue Kiss, Water boy, Theory of Love, name the series, it is just like a back to back-feeding of being gay is not normal, a once in a living thing. I first loved the fact that Vlad was openly gay and proud of it. This line just held a lot of meaning to me. This line also showed me a little bit of Vlad’s history with the infamous ex that starts all his pain in the first place.
2. Do not be scared of the word, you can say it, it is not an insult, I do not mind
This line could easily be my most memorable line of the series, like if I could forget every single part of this series, I do not think I could forget those words ever in my life. This is basically I think what the LGBT community does not do on our own part sometimes, we do not educate and communicate and that was what Vlad did for Karl [I would focus more on this role in my review of my last few dialogues]. Communication and trust are the most key things in every relationship, and I appreciated how calm a reasonable Vlad was with Karl especially allowing/guiding him to come to terms ‘on his own terms’. This line kind of debunks how homophobia has changed the view of the word ‘gay’ or anything associated with it, as almost taboo, but this line presents Vlad has someone who has gone through it all and has arrived at a position that he loves, a representation that I loved.
3. I never said I was a perfect ally. I am still learning through this [I am actually not sure if this was the perfect quote but it was something along this line]
I know a lot of people were not fans of Judith, but I think she represented two important things, family as well as being an ally. Let me start with the ally part, I actually argued with someone about Judith’s role during the dinner and being an ally, but I linked it back to her statement in the past, now I am not excusing Judith for putting Karl on the spot, she crossed the line but at that moment, she was not being an ally but a sister rather, a sister who for the love of her brother wanted to protect him from heartbreak. What she right, we can debate that, but the truth is that is what a lot of family members would do, not just for their gay family member but for any family member. At the ending of everything she was a sibling first before an ally and the truth is that sometimes we are too quick to ‘cancel’ people for not being the perfect ally but honestly, I do not think we have a single perfect ally in the world, every ally is just learning at their own pace and the conditions that surround a particular ally of the community definitely impacts their behavior both past and present, Judith represents that, her change from someone that bullied Vlad with her words when she was younger and naïve to someone ready to protect him shows how a lot of families really process in real life. I feel she was a very necessary character to tie this together. Because Judith shows the potential of people to grow and for their mindsets to change, as well as what a single conversation can change
4. “I don’t know if I’m like you. I don’t even know who I am”
This statement perfectly represents Karl and so many people in the world, when we first meet Karl we understand that his image in the eyes of his parents is very important and we come to learn along the line, his parents stopped differentiating between him and his dead brother. He grew up carrying the burdens of living his brother’s life to make his parents, from a young age he never got to know who KARL FEDRICK ALMASEN was and this is representative of so many people, basically empty shells working around. I mean I was a law student, I have had the pleasure of having parents that have supported me through and through everything but I know so many friends in law school who were just there because their parents were judges or owned powerful law firms and the mere thought of disappointing their parents seemed like an impossible scenario. Many people in life don’t actually know who they really which made Karl’s struggle more real, cause he represented so many people who never got to know themselves, discover what they actually wanted, but the truth is that we need to all face those scary truths, at our own time but eventually we do and if we are forced to face them before it’s the right time, a lot of people will shut off to the world.
I think it was great that Karl was actually given the time to face what he needed to face at his own time [like I said I would treat their contrasts in the review of the last episode dialogues]. The truth is that it is scary to face the truth and we got showed that so many times in Gaya, but what is most important is that we move our own pace, we shouldn’t be forced to rush.
5. I don’t know if I can point to a specific quote to Anna and her child but I felt the need to mention, I think I would probably discuss it with Santi [contrasting Santi with Karl and Vlad]
Anna represents when a change comes into your life, how to accommodate that new change but at the same time not lose yourself, trying to balance out the new change to your entire life while maintaining you, cause sometimes, when you lose yourself, you start to hate that thing or person who changed you. Anna wasn’t abandoning her child with her getaway but making sure she was intact herself, that she was complete as a human, because how do you raise a child if there are parts of you that are fundamentally missing a part, you cannot give what you do not have, hence her actions would impact her child more than mere words [as we see is the pattern with so many families, kids tend to pick up the traits of their parents whether intentionally] and honestly I think every human deserves that tiny bit of greediness and self-love.
For Santi, he mentioned something about not growing up with love in the finale and it reminds me of the privilege that LGBT youth like myself that is in their 20s or younger enjoy. Things were not always like this, we genuinely need to appreciate that people fought to get to where we are and that’s why it bothers me a lot when my generation wants to throw away the work the older generation has done to get to where we are, I know they aren’t perfect, they have messed up majorly but we must also respect and recognize that people before us got us what we have not. I think that’s the problem we face majorly.
I genuinely loved that they didn’t waste any character, each character portrayed a lesson to me.
6. I am going to merge a bunch of statements from the finale
a. I know I am not doing anything wrong but why am I still afraid – Karl
b. I’m gay but I still can’t tell papa, I love Vlad but I am not as brave as him – Karl and Santi replied – Soon
c. I don’t want to be silent about my love, I want to be out there, I deserve it just like you deserve to take your time inside – Vlad.
d. Can we just stay here forever – Karl, I want to take you everywhere – Vlad
I think these statements basically carry the most basic story of the entire series and maybe the most important, everyone deserves to move on their own time and I think that is what made me love Vlad in the end realizing that Karl deserves to move at his pace while he himself didn’t have to give up what he deserved to fit someone else. I know a lot of people were a little disappointed by that ending but I think it was a beautiful ending because it appeared to me that both parties actually loved the other person but they truly were not on the same wavelength in terms of growth, the both realized they both had to make a compromise, not necessarily to the other person but to themselves. Karl listened to Anna to be out there, not ‘OUT’ but we get to appreciate that he is making an effort on his own term to be out there. This symbolizes he is taking baby steps until he’s ready to be out there.
Vlad on the other end also understood her deserved not to be someone’s secret [that is genuinely damaging sometimes, speaking from experience] but the most important thing was that he did not force Karl either, he chose to look out for him and be with him, not necessarily in a relationship but being there gave Karl the right support and strength to push forward and for me, that is what love actually is.
As I said, I love Gaya because it didn’t just give me two handsome guys and a lot of skinship, but everything was so well planned, I don’t know if there was a second of the series that was ‘irrelevant’ to the overall story and experience, everything came full circle [or is it cycle] at its own time, no story was rushed, no action was left unexplained, no scene was accidental or without purpose, which I think goes to show great writing on the side of the script. To be able to masterfully explore your script to its full extent and make sure, every single part was explained, the audience wasn’t left hanging on why a specific character acted a specific way, like Judith trying so hard to be there for Vlad because she was lowkey terrible to him as a child, the fact Vlad hated his hair being touched, honestly, I was just as surprised when they explained that it was because it was the last thing his dad did to him before she permanently left which made him feel like he had failed his purpose of saving a marriage, I WAS KUDOS TO THE WRITER, THIS MIGHT BE THE BEST WRITING POSSIBLE. As I said, no character, scene, or moment was wasted
They perfectly complement each other in the cast and characters, they somehow all just felt like the perfect balance, and the fact they never really left that single Unit/building is another mind-blowing thing, like, minus the car scene with Judith, I don’t think they left the building.
I have never been someone that really cares about OST, I am rarely big on OSTs, they don’t really move me, but Gaya’s OST is the first series asides UMWA, history 3, where your eyes linger and the effect, where the OST perfectly fits every part of the series, it makes you feel their joy, pain, and every emotion... Like even if the series was utter trash, which it isn’t, the OST would carry it for me, like 5 songs from the OST made my top 200 songs of 2020, that’s how good it is. Several times I found myself just sobbing or in tears listening to the OST.
The people in charge of the music department were as brilliant as the actors, directors, producers
This was a series that was made with a purpose and they executed perfectly I am so grateful to everyone who was a part of this movement because you truly took us on a beautiful journey, one I would never forget, you made me care for people, made me happy, made me laugh, cry with someone in their pain if that is not arts at its best I don’t know what is. Thank you for bringing this to the world in a year as dark as 2020
IF YOU ARE READ THIS FAR, I WOULD LIKE TO END WITH THE ENDING QUOTE OF GAYA AGAIN
‘LIBERATING LOVE AND EQUAL RIGHTS, TO EVERYONE OF US, THE REAL FIGHT IS ON THE OUTSIDE. WE WILL WELCOME YOU WHEN YOU ARE READY’.
I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE REVIEW AS MUCH AS I LOVED WRITING IT
BYE FOR NOW