*Title Translation: 100 Poems for Stella: A way to gain your crush’s attention
ATTENTION: SPOILERS INCLUDED
Writing poems for Stella is Fidel’s way to express his feelings for her. Fidel is drawn to the aspiring rock star from the moment he meets her at the acquaintance party and thinks of writing poems about her, which he would initially like to have published in the college editorial. Finding out that his poems are not featured, he follows his professor’s suggestion to give his poems. He decides that he would do so when the right time comes, but as he takes every chance to show his writings, there does not seem to have one. This makes Fidel promise to himself to write a 100 poems in a booklet, which he will give to Stella once he asks her to be his girlfriend. Unfortunately, tables have turned when Fidel finally has his chance, for Stella is already married to another man and about to have a child.
Pinagtagpo pero hindi tinadhana. Literally translated as “crossed each other’s paths but never destined.” I appreciate how the film plays around the theme similar to Kita Kita‘s (c.f. Kita Kita: a social media buzz turned to romcom phenomenon) and mirrors the harsh reality that one cannot always end with whom he or she wants to end with and the person one loves is not always the one destined for him or her. It also tells us audiences that there is no perfect time for everything and one has to seize the opportunity while it is still there. It equally shows us the realistic side of relationships in contrast with typical school, teen and coming-of-age romance films with happy endings providing a feeling of hope that one can always end with the person he or she fancies, which indeed makes 100 Tula Para Kay Stella a stand out growing up flick.
I appreciate the unpredictability in this movie and the fact that it is relatable to teens and young adults. It is said to be relatable to high school and college students between 2004 and 2008 (they must be in between mid-20’s and early 30’s in 2017), bringing back those good old memories when Friendster and Yahoo Groups were the most famous social media platforms, when floppy disks, CDs, tapes, walkmans and Nokia 3310 old version were used frequently, and when bands are still on the mainstream (e.g. Sugarfree, Rivermaya, Hale..). It also brings back to college days with the glories of passing the subjects, sharing joys and tears with block mates, study group systems, putting sweat, blood and effort into reviewing for exams, house partying, acquaintance party with live band and dance, joining clubs of interest, meeting new friends, being in a band, preparing for the future and graduation. While nowaday’s teens can relate less to the old trends memorabilia, they can relate more to college life that they are either currently experiencing or will experience in the future.
“Hindi naman pwede laging living in the moment” – Fidel Lansangan
Translation: You can’t always live in the moment.
The movie never fails to highlight central themes typical in a life of a teenager such as self-discovery, following one’s dreams, school pressure and dealing with authority, family relationships, friendships, romantic relationships and heartaches. These even make it more relatable to teens and even to adults who have been teenagers once, for they are realistically portrayed as seen through the stories that each character has been going through. Stella’s angst and struggles feel so real to the point that she can be considered a victim in society despite her rebellious nature. The natural, spontaneous and outstanding acting (facial expressions, body movements and script lines) bring the characters into life and I salute Bela Padilla, J.C Santos and even Prince Stefan for putting themselves into their own.
Last but not the least, the movie is entertaining for it has brought lots of laughter and tears. Kudos to Chuck (my favorite character) for bringing hilarious moments in the midst of dramatic scenes.
I would definitely recommend this movie to love stories aficionados, indie film lovers, teen and young adult oriented movie fans and to those who do not mind tragedies as long as they are considered a masterpiece. My personal identification with the characters drew me to watch 100 Tula Para Kay Stella, being a Stella on the outside (sporting a usual rockstar look) and a Fidel on the inside (being introspective and an introvert), and having similar talents as these two (writing, singing and playing guitar).
AND A FEW MORE PERSONALLY DISCOVERED TRIVIA (THOUGH UNINTENDED)..
1/ Stella and Fidel’s goal is to see the other side of Mount Arayat, which they managed to do at the end of the film. While it is known as the major attraction in Pampanga, the word “aray” (meaning “ouch” in tagalog) in the name implies that Stella and Fidel are not meant to be (which indeed is painful), as well as those chances Fidel never received to prove his love for Stella.
2/ The names given to main characters describe their portrayal. Stella means “star”, which entirely describes Bela Padilla’s character being a band vocalist, while the name Fidel sounds like the pronounciation of “fidele”, the French word for faithful, which the character turns out to be.
Title (translated) 100 Poems for Stella
Release Date August 16, 2017
Directed By Jason Paul Laxamana
Starring Bela Padilla, JC Santos, Prince Stefan, Mayton Eugenio, Ana Abad Santos, Rose Van Ginkel
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Length 120 min
Fidel, a young man with speech impairment, falls for Stella, a popular and aspiring rockstar. He then writes a series of poems to express his feelings.
Overall Rating 4.75/5 stars (9.5/10)