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an article from Today, Style section, 21 August 1998

IT has all the elements of a love story written for the big screen: boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy (but boy doesn't realize he is in love with the girl until much later), jealous ex-girlfriend comes in and tries to break them up, very nearly succeeds but true love comes to the rescue just in time and everything ends happily ever after. What sets I'm Sorry, My Love apart from most movies of this type is the cast that Viva Films has assembled for the first directorial job of former film editor Joyce Bernal.

Now showing in Metro Manila theaters, I'm Sorry, My Love reunites the Mara Clara team of box-office superstars Judy Ann Santos and showbiz's top young kontrabida Gladys Reyes in their first movie together after almost three years.

"It's as if we never parted ways," says Gladys. "We worked together for Mara Clara on TV for almost five years. Next, we did Mara Clara, The Movie and up until now, we've never done another film together. But we're still as comfortable as ever acting together because we've grown and known each other better."

I'm Sorry, My Love also brings together for the first time Judy Ann and Onemig Bondoc, the young heartthrob of Growing Up and Ganyan Kita Kamahal. It is Onemig's first real lead role in a drama movie after playing support to Aga Muhlach and Mikee Cojuangco in Dahil Ba Sa Kanya. If he was nervous about working with Aga and Mikee in his last movie, there was a bit of the same making this movie with Judy Ann.

The project was originally meant for Bobby Andrews and Donna Cruz, but when shooting was to start, Bobby got sick and Donna announced her wedding plans, so instead of shelving it altogether, Viva executives decided to pull a switch and cast Judy Ann and Onemig especially since both actors are getting good feedback from their telesine Ligaw na Mundo, which was filmed party in Hong Kong and aired on TV in February.

Also joining Judy Ann, Onemig and Gladys in the movie are Antoinette Taus, Dingdong "IƱaki" Dantes and Ryan Eigenmann. Antoinette plays Randy's sister Ria; Dingdong is her boyfriend Butch, while Ryan is Sylvia's boyfriend Dennis. This makes I'm Sorry, My Love a gathering of some of the brightest young stars in local showbiz.

Onemig says it was an experience working with Judy Ann. "She's very professional and very supportive, especially considering that this is my first time to really do a lead role. She could appear intimidating the first time you meet her, but when you start working with her, you'll discover that she's very down to earth. She's nice and charming, easy to be with on the set."

Judy Ann plays Tinay, the daughter of a poor family dependent on fishing for its livelihood. Onemig is Randy, the good-looking but irresponsible heir to a family fortune and business whose interest, unfortunately for his father, have nothing at all to do with work but are limited to jetskiing and racing fast cars. Gladys is Sylvia, Randy's girlfriend who is pressing him to marry her. Randy refuses, saying he is not ready. Sylvia gets upset and turns the tables on Randy by breaking up with him and getting back with Dennis, his former rival for her affections. His pride hurt, Randy swears to get even by finding another girl to take Sylvia's place.

He gets frantic when he is invited to the birthday party of a friend because he knows Sylvia and Dennis are going to be there and he has no date yet.

He has no idea that the girl of his dreams is just under his nose. Tinay, who had decided to try her luck in Manila, found a job in the business owned by Randy's parents (she got it after Randy's mother literally ran into her with her car and offered it as a means of making up for what happened). She develops a crush on Randy the minute she sees him, but because of her quiet, timid probinsyana ways, Tinay fails to catch his eye.

When Randy is invited to the birthday party of his friend, he frantically searches for a date. His sister Ria (Antoinette Taus) decides to help him out. Spurred on by something her boyfriend Butch (Dingdong Dantes) said about how Tinay would look beautiful if someone just spent time teaching her to fix herself, Ria decides to do just that.

The transformation that takes place is reminiscent of Eliza Doolittle's in the musical My Fair Lady. With a little help from Ria who also teaches her social graces, Tinay becomes a different person, at least on the outside. Because he is pressed for time, Randy decides to stop looking and just take Tinay along to the party of his friend.

Tinay is a hit at the party, and Sylvia finds herself feeling insecure. With Randy's help, Tinay gains more self-confidence, even at the office. She learns basic accounting work and quickly moves up the career ladder, making an enemy of some old-timers who feel that she is taking away their jobs. An employee, Mrs. Bartolome, enlists the help of Sylvia in concocting a scheme to frame Tinay up and make it look like she is defrauding the company of money.

The news reaches Randy, and he starts doubting Tinay, especially after he hears her talking to her mother about the money needed to finance the operation of her sick brother back in the province. Hurt, Tinay leaves Manila to go back home. When Randy finds out that it was all a frameup, he follows Tinay and convinces her that he loves her. Because she feels something for him too, Tinay forgives him-and they live happily ever after.