Barbie Forteza has gone a long way in local tinseltown. Her metamorphosis into a fine actor is one that we’re watching from the sidelines, hoping from the shiny chrysalis she has come into will eventually emerge as a beautiful butterfly.
She was first introduced as a 12-year-old preteen in the local adaptation of the Korean drama Stairway to Heaven in 2009. Thankfully, Forteza never reached that awkward stage when she was too old to play a teenager and too young to play a lady. Work was constant, as she was evolving from a teen to a young lady, hopping from comedy to drama projects with ease and fluidity.
In 2014 she surprised everyone when she turned in a sensitive portrayal on the big screen as the daughter who grew up resenting her father in the Cinemalaya entry Mariquina. Despite a major lapse in casting decision when the filmmaker chose Mylene Dizon to play Forteza’s grown-up character in the movie (since they don’t even have any physical semblance at all), Forteza was able to hold her own against seasoned actors like Ricky Davao and Bing Pimentel.
For her efforts, Forteza won the Cinemalaya Best Supporting Actress that year and scored an Urian nomination the year after.
Suddenly, prestige was written all over the young actress’s name, a feat that none of her contemporaries can lay claim to at the time.
Forteza quickly followed it up with an even more entrancing performance in Tuos, acquitting herself well against the iconic Nora Aunor. Her performance in the drama Laut also merited an international acting recognition for Forteza.
Although she has starred in high-rating TV
shows like Meant to Be, where she had not one but four leading men, Forteza ’s cinema box-office drawing power has been routinely tested. The promising actress that she is, producers continue to take the risk and invest in her.
BG Productions International is putting its bet on the acclaimed young actress in its first mainstream foray, called Almost A Love Story, currently showing in local cinemas nationwide.
Shot partially in picturesque Italy, Almost A Love Story reunites Forteza with Derrick Monasterio and Louie Ignacio, her director in Laut. Much of the publicity on the movie has revolved around how Monasterio feels that Forteza is the one that got away.
It’s interesting to note that there is more to the two than a love story that never was. They have an easy chemistry. And it translated well in the actual movie where Monasterio rose to the challenge and upped his game, matching Forteza’s intensity, especially in the scene where he finally reveals his love for her.
Almost A Love Story spends much of its first hour detailing the deep friendship that develops between the characters played by Forteza and Monasterio. Forteza’s character is the daughter of Lotlot de Leon, who is the nanny-cum-help of Monasterio’s family in Italy. There is a twist near the film’s end that verges on the schmaltzy, but director Louie Ignacio handles it with enough finesse that you might find yourself actually shedding a guilty tear or two.
And Forteza’s acting in the scene where she finds out their love story will never ever see fruition is something to behold. The young actress has grown instinctive. She is able to convey her shock and grief in a manner that’s truly moving.
Almost A Love Story is proof that Barbie Forteza is here to stay. She is in the game for the long haul, and we can only expect more wonderful performances from her. We hope that she continues to make the right career decisions and choose her projects well, because she is certainly on the right track.
Next up for Forteza is a comedy series on GMA, again with Monasterio as her leading man. It
will do their home network good to develop this tandem more aggressively and to give it a much-deserved big push.