The Unmarried Wife is a movie about love and its many complications. It challenges the many notions one has about the emotion and, in the process, poses a difficult question — how long should one fight for love?
Screening in UAE cinemas starting December 1, the Filipino romance drama is headlined by Angelica Panganiban, Dingdong Dantes and Paulo Avelino.
The main narrative centres on Anne (Panganiban), a young woman with a traumatic childhood experience who overcomes her inhibitions when she falls in love and marries Geoff (Dantes). But the relationship does not last long because of Geoff’s infidelities. Anne nonetheless struggles to fight for her family, eventually finding comfort in a friend Bryan (Avelino), who offers himself as the lover she truly deserves.
In a video conference, Panganiban, director Maryo J. delos Reyes and writer Vanessa Valdez talk about how the film tackles the sensitive subject of infidelity.
“Actually, I always say that this is not an infidelity movie, it’s a family drama,” says Valdez. “The family in the story is experiencing a great sense of loss and a great tragedy because of the mistakes of the characters. I think as a society we are very unfair when we judge men and women with regard to how they behave in a romantic relationship.”
Valdez explains, “I think we have to expect fidelity from both partners. The burden of being faithful and keeping the marriage together is the responsibility of both partners. In fact, if you are unfaithful you are not just unfaithful to your partner, you are first unfaithful to yourself.”
The 30-year-old Panganiban said she finds similarities between Anne and herself, admitting she learned a few lessons on love from the character. Despite finding a connection with Anne, Panganiban said there were challenges portraying the role. “I’m a bit loud. Anne is very proper. That’s what makes me different from Anne, but when it comes to love I think [we] are the same,” she said. “Both will fight [for] what [matters to us]. But there are limitations. The good thing about Anne is she appreciates herself — she also needs to think about herself and not always think about other people.”
Delos Reyes said the movie tested his storytelling skills as he tried to offer a fresh take on an often talked about subject. The award-winning director said The Unmarried Wife discusses important issues that affect overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who are prone to such relationship problems.
“Actually, it’s for all kinds of couples [facing] issues on adultery, infidelity, solo parenthood, long-distance relationships. The film tries to answer these questions,” said delos Reyes. “[When you watch the film] may be you will be entertained, or you could go beyond and start asking questions and maybe find answers. That is how the film helps tackle these issues, especially those faced by OFWs.”
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The Unmarried Wife is out in the UAE on December 1.