That Thing Called Tadhana is a 2014 Filipino romantic comedy film starring Angelica Panganiban as Mace and JM de Guzman as Anthony. It is one of the most successful independent films of all time earning Php 134 million in its theatrical run.
No wonder it is included in Netflix’s collection of Filipino films. Since I wasn’t able to watch this during its regular theater run, I might as well watch it on streaming media.
It starts with a voice-over of a story about an arrow and the pierced heart. Then it cuts into Mace in an airport in Rome crying in despair, trying to decide which pieces of clothing will she discard to make it under the baggage weight limit. Every time she returns to the counter, her luggage is overweight.
Then Anthony, a fellow Filipino, offers her his luggage. He said that she could use the extra space he has since he’s still within the allowable weight limit. That’s how their friendship started.
Upon arriving in the Philippines, Mace still doesn’t want to go home yet. So both of them ate in a Japanese restaurant, then went to a videoke bar. There, Mace sang her heart out as she tries to sing Whitney Houston’s “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?”. And while drunk, she invited Anthony to accompany her to Baguio City.
So we follow one broken-hearted female and a quiet-type male to Baguio City and Sagada where they open up their disappointments and expectations on love and life in general and their friendship deepens.
Viewers discover that Mace tries to move on from a heartbreak on her own terms. She even told Anthony about her story of the arrow and the pierced heart which she wrote back in college. And since Mace learns about Anthony being an artist who spends his life in a deadline-driven career instead of pursuing his true passion in painting, she asks if he could illustrate the story for her.
When they return to Manila, Anthony brings Mace to her house and they see Marco, Mace’s ex-boyfriend, (played by Joem Bascon in a cameo role), waiting for her, hoping for a second chance.
Then we come back to the story of the arrow and the pierced heart and we see that it was already published as Anthony drives his car carrying a copy of the book.
For me, the ending seems vague because I’m not sure if Mace and Marco had another chance on love or if Mace and Anthony ended up together. But overall, I’m still giving this 4 out of 5 stars.