REVIEW: Ngayon at Kailanman amazes us with great acting, mesmerizing visuals in pilot week

Ngayon at Kailanman is definitely one compelling drama people are talking about and watching since it first aired on Primetime Bida on August 20. Not only did it rule the ratings but likewise dominated social media trends as well in its pilot week.

What made us want to watch this classic-type, millennial-drawn teleserye?

Great acting

How the actors portray and embody their characters is what viewers anticipate and appreciate.

And for this particular drama, it has been a wonderful feast. 

More than the kiligfest we expected from such a teleserye that boasts the first-ever TV pair-up of Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia, we witnessed an exceptional thespic treat from the leading stars to the supporting cast.

Julia is particularly noteworthy, given that she’s been known to portray millennial “IT” girls in teen romances. She is now stripped down to play a street-smart, poor girl named Eva trying her best to make both ends meet by engaging in “rakets” left and right all for the sake of family.

Julia proved her acting versatility and willingness to be exposed to the elements just to efficiently portray her character, uttering streetwise lingo and rowdy banter naturally like any person who grew up in the slums.

Joshua has been quite expectedly brilliant in his portrayal of the affluent yet troubled jewelry business executive and heir. While we were used to boy-next-door characters in film and TV, he surely nailed that astute and perfectionist high-brow rich kid we haven’t seen him play.

Surely, he can metamorphose to any type of character with a mere snap of the finger.

Veteran actress Rosemarie Gil resurfaced and showed that her timeless distinction as a praiseworthy antagonist is no hearsay. Though she had only a few lines to deliver in the pilot week as the matriarch of the Cortes family Doňa Carmen, her powerful on-screen impact was overwhelming.

Iza Calzado was also impressive in her heartbreaking fate as Rebecca. This was evident in how she efficiently personified a devastated woman learning that the man was to marry was already dead, and eventually losing her life at the hands of the Cortes family’s evil minions.

Iza indeed brought out thespic superiority with how she embraced the character, making viewers feel the tragedy she went through and commiserate with her plight.

Similarly, Alice Dixson had brought out her utter best in portraying a fierce, feisty and belligerent Stella, who seem never satisfied with all the efforts given by the people around her, including her son Inno. 

Yet, we love and hate her at the same time, as we witness her own pitfalls that led to her spitefulness and understand her anger. With this, Alice even takes the role to great lengths with her outstanding portrayal. 

Jameson Blake is also a delightful addition as Inno’s brother Oliver. His playful, hanky-panky vibe gives his depiction much believability. 

Those savory twists

The drama’s turn of events really kept the audience tuned in. 

One is the death of Rodrigo (TJ Trinidad), the rightful heir to the Cortes family fortune and disowned by the patriarch (Don Julian) because of his relationship with Rebecca. Rebecca held on the promise of Rodrigo was to return after attending the funeral of his father. He even told her to marry her as soon as he went back. But then she learned he was already dead.

And after that tragedy, she was also shot dead by Rodrigo’s greedy family members, leaving Angela, her daughter with Rodrigo and the lone survivor of the carnage, in the care of one regretful assassin, who was also later slain. 

Angela would then be the unwitting next rightful heiress to the Cortes fortune, but she was then fostered by siblings Abel (Dominic Ochoa) and Rosa (Rio Locsin) after having suffered partial amnesia when she accidentally hit her head on a boat and forgetting earlier events, and named her Eva.

Inno and Eva

Eva had already met Inno when they were children by a seashore and their eye-catching encounter was unforgettable, especially for the boy who could not get over the girl who captured his heart.

Several years later, they would unexpectedly cross paths again albeit not as amorously.

Along a Binondo sidestreet, Eva was chasing a fraudster who duped her into accepting fake money to buy jewelry. Inno was standing in Eva’s path when she bumped into him, got hold of his phone and ran off. 

Thinking she was a thief, Inno chased her too. And while Eva was pursuing the fraudster, Inno apprehended her and hauled her to a police station. Adding to the misfortune of losing P20,000 to the fraudster, Eva is now facing theft charges from no other than Inno. 

But Inno seemed to be drawn to Eva’s eyes as if he recalled someone who captured his heart years back.

Yet, as he continued to file charges, Eva’s policeman-friend persuaded Inno not to pursue it, vouching for her innocence. 

Then they would meet again at a formal party where Eva worked as a waitress-server and Inno as a guest. Eva would then recall the near prison term she faced and let it all out on Inno, who would then blame her for an unsavory drink she served.

And while all these discomforting scenes were happening, their attraction towards each other had seem to commence.

Visual treat

The scenes in this major teleserye were shot with utmost cinematic mastery, apart from the other high creative values. From the breathtaking landscapes to the mind-blowing realistic shots of urban Manila, the camera work was superb.

Not only were viewers treated with a fascinating narrative, Ngayon at Kailanman indulges us with a visual treat rarely seen on TV dramas. Production quality and design was emphatic, with gripping shots of Jones Bridge from every angle and the relatable sound of a boiling kettle mesmerizing us. 

How directors Mae Cruz-Alviar and Elfren Vibar put it all together makes the teleserye a cut above the rest.

Watch more of Ngayon at Kailanman weeknights after FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano on Primetime Bida.