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We’re just half way past 2019 but local movie producers and filmmakers are continuously heating up our movie screens with steamy, May–December love affair films. 

After Glorious, the first movie to have a gala night at this year’s Cinemalaya, was Belle Douleur (Beautiful Pain). This main competition, full-length movie marks Joji Villanueva Alonzo’s directorial debut. Belle Douleur is another May–December love affair story starring Mylene Dizon as Liz and Kit Thompson as Josh. 

Everything happens so fast during its 98-minute running time. Admittedly, it doesn’t establish a solid background for Josh, nor does it bother with the character development of its other protagonists. But all of these seeming flaws were overshadowed by the strong chemistry between Mylene and Kit, making them perfect for their respective roles. 

Mylene, as expected, delivers an exemplary performance as a middle-aged woman who is given an opportunity to have a happy, loving, romantic relationship with a man who is willing to give up his dreams for her. Kit, who is not new to Cinemalaya (he was part of 2014’s #Y), didn’t also disappoint. He gives justice to Josh’s character while also flaunting a physique that makes women’s—and even men’s—knees weak. 

Belle Douleur is a film that shows how much a person can sacrifice for love. It also makes a rather timely point: A woman’s happiness does not lie in building a family of her own. Instead, it argues that happiness can be found in learning to love oneself. 

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