TYPE OF REVIEW : GOOD OL’ REVIEW
GMA Network’s The Better Woman was a tightly written, fast-paced series with an excellent cast. But the main highlight and perhaps, huge revelation was the absolutel tour de force performance by Andrea Torres.
While she may not have been the first Filipino actor to play dual roles in a soap opera, Andrea Torres proved to be one of the best. As sisters Jasmine and Juliet, Andrea Torres displayed a perfectly nuanced peformance that immediately gave each character their own flavor and distinct qualities. She was so effective to the point that you forgot only one person was playing both roles.
Andrea Torres’ versatility was coupled with her strong performance overall. Even her playing just one of the characters would’ve warranted praise. But that she was able to essentially deliver two excellent performances in one series is a major accomplishment. She has headlined several series already in her career, but her success on The Better Woman should signal her arrival as truly one of GMA’s prime leading ladies.
The Better Woman‘s straightforward, yet engrossing story and the way it developed over the course of 13 weeks was one that you’d typically see on a regular 16-episode Korean drama. The type of story that had a clear beginning, middle and end.
And that type of story is atypical on Philippine TV where a soap opera’s plot is dictated by ratings and advertising revenue which determines how long (or short) that series eventually airs.
The Better Woman served out a single 13-week run without extensions. Likely because of its softer ratings numbers in the early 8:35pm, 2nd primetime slot. It was plagued by angry comments from some viewers saying its content was inappropriate for the early slot. Critics derided the show’s title card and promo visuals believing it was just another show about infidelity and sex.
Really, The Better Woman was about a one-sided sister rivalry. And one that ran deeper than just simple jealousy. One bit of unrealized potential was for the show to focus more on the effect of Juliet’s childhood trauma, having been left at the hospital as a baby and then being abused by her adoptive father.
But in spite of that missed potential, The Better Woman was still an engaging and character-driven story. Its finale was an emotionally satisfying conclusion. That is something you’re lucky to get from most Filipino soap operas.
And it was powered by a truly excellent cast. Of course led by Andrea Torres, the ensemble has to be one of the strongest in a long time.
Derek Ramsay, in his return to GMA as well as to daily drama, showed his experience and talent as a leading man. And his chemistry with Andrea Torres was evident from the first episode.
The rest of the main cast deserves to be named one by one as well. Jaclyn Jose, Ina Feleo, Ashley Rivera, Frances Ignacio, Tommy Abuel, Paolo Paraiso, Ervic Vijandre, Bryce Eusebo and Yuan Francisco all each delivered and contributed to the success of the series. Each of their characters an important part of the full development of the plot.
The series was also visually stunning, maximizing the La Union location to its fullest potential. The cinematic visuals accentuated the writing and performances very well.
But overall, The Better Woman will be most remembered for Andrea Torres’ performance. A truly breakthrough, career-defining role that hopefully people will continue to discover in the future.