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Author: Neil Celeste Rara
The author is a freelance web and graphic designer. He currently works as a Project Officer at Meralco's Corporate Social Responsibility Office. Before that, he worked for a broadcasting company for six and a half years. Visit his portfolio site at

Julie Anne San Jose, Elmo Magalona deliver commendable acting in “Just One Summer”


Just One Summer Official Poster

Just One Summer Official Poster

Last Monday, August 13, GMA Films held a red carpet premiere of its latest romantic movie Just One Summer at the SM Megamall Cinema 9.  The movie stars one of GMA’s popular love teams — Julie Anne San Jose and Elmo Magalona or “JuliElmo.”

Although I am a follower of the love team, I am not really a big fan of romantic films not only because my own love life is both virtually and literally non-existent but also because I think I am old enough to know that love isn’t always a bed of roses as movies of such genre usually portray.  But despite my cynicism, I must admit that Julie Anne San Jose and Elmo Magalona’s convincing acting in the film has persuaded me to rethink my perception of romantic — and even romantic-comedy or “romcom” — films.

The story of Just One Summer is about two magkababatas — Nyel (Elmo) and Beto (Julie Anne) — who, although worlds apart, fall in love with each other after spending a summer in a farm.  Well, at least that’s the gist of the story — simple, easy to digest, but filled with so much emotion and — yes — kilig moments including one scene (my favorite) wherein Elmo and Julie Anne bade goodbye to each other (I won’t tell you why, just watch it).  Overwhelmed by their emotions, the two kissed — but it wasn’t  exactly a lips to lips thing but a lips-to-glass-to-lips kiss!  It’s kinda hard to explain without an actual demo but anyway, Elmo was inside a car while Julie Anne was outside and the two “virtually” kissed and held hands with the glass car window in between them.  If I were Elmo, I would have rolled down the window first!  But of course I understand that this is a wholesome film and not one of those hardcore flicks that I watch whenever I’m alone (laughs).

I’ve been a fan of Julie Anne San Jose since her “Sugarpop” days and I could say that she has grown from a mere “kiddie” singer to a versatile artist.  The fact that she is the only one among the now defunct group’s members who survived in show business proves her exceptional talent. She could sing, dance and act, although I didn’t realize her full potential as an actress until I saw her superb acting in Just One Summer.  I knew Julie Anne could act, but I didn’t know she was that “ripe” enough.  After watching her emotionally “heavy” scenes in the movie, I though to myself, “Oh my, she’s ready for Primetime!”  Both her delivery of lines and facial expressions were very natural and convincing, indeed.

Elmo Magalona’s capacity to do heavy drama was also a revelation.  His usually laid-back and, in showbiz lengua, pa-tweetum roles will now be a thing of the past.  He, too, is now ready for Primetime TV.

Two other things also stood out in the film: the carefully thought-out color schemes in every shot and, more importantly, the blocking of the artists.  Actually, this doesn’t come to me as a surprise considering that the movie was directed by the meticulous Mac Alejandre whose last directing stint in GMA was in the top-rating epic serye Amaya before he went ober da bakod to TV5.  I was so amused at how the colors matched that I even exclaimed, “Wow, pati damit ng katulong nagma-match sa halaman sa background!” (laughs).

Overall, I’d say the movie is a very good one.  Just One Summer definitely brought me back a few years into the past when love was a wonderful thing to have (laughs)!

Just One Summer opens on Wednesday, August 15, in theaters near you — except if you are in Somalia or Uzbekistan, etc.!

  • IlonggAdik

    thanks so much for this review! getting more excited to invite other non-adiks to watch Just One Summer and hopefully macatch nila ang JuliElmo fever! Hope GMA will trust them with more projects pa. God bless!

  • Eddie Sumaway

    Hi Sir Neil… thanks last nyt. JOS premiere nyt.

    • neilraragma

      Hello, Eddie. You’re welcome. Thanks for visiting my website. =)

  • Weng

    hey Neil, thanks again for the invite. I love reading this post much about your love life hahaha…Sige na nga,ndi na ko makikipag-kumpetensya sa inyo ni Ely :)

    • neilraragma

      hahaha. Thanks for coming last night, Weng. =)