First Impression Review: ABS-CBN/GMA Network’s Paint-by-the-Numbers “Unbreak My Heart” is Still Somehow a Compelling Watch

Unbreak My Heart Review

No spoilers.

The ABS-CBN-GMA Network “collaboration” Unbreak My Heart may be historic in some ways, not so much in others. But debating that is for another time. What we’ll talk about today is how Unbreak My Heart so far is a very familiar, though still engaging soap opera ride. After watching the first eight episodes, Unbreak My Heart offers little in terms of out of the box ideas. But it really doesn’t have to. A charismatic lead quartet helps to elevate the typical sudsy storylines and character tropes of Filipino teleserye. But with the stunning Swiss landscapes and glossy urban Italy to add some extra seasoning, the series has managed to be a fun, juicy ride so far.

Despite derision from loud swaths of Filipino keyboard warriors to the formulaic plotlines of local soap operas, those same shows still garner the biggest audiences on television. And there’s a simple reason for that: These shows are fun to watch. It’s fun to be kilig or frustrated or annoyed or happy when watching these teleseryes. And Unbreak My Heart is able to deliver that soapy melodrama as best as it can.

Unbreak My Heart follows Rose Jacinto (Jodi Sta. Maria) as she searches for her daughter in Europe after leaving her due to difficult circumstances years ago. During that search, she meets Renz (Joshua Garcia), a young Filipino working abroad who ends up helping her until the two begin a whirlwind relationship that ends with Rose having to sneak away. Fast forward a couple of months, Renz moves to Italy for a fresh start where he meets Alex (Gabbi Garcia) just as her marriage proposal is rejected. And as fate would have it, Alex turns out to be the daughter Rose has been looking for.

Unbreak My Heart plays around with the idea of “fate” and destiny, almost knocking you over the head with details of how these three characters, as well as Rose’s ex-husband/Alex’s father Matteo (Richard Yap) are all connected. Their pasts, present and futures intertwined beyond their control.

That cliché set-up is exactly what makes the series so interesting and fun to watch.

The series actually starts a bit slow, but quickly picks up the pace in its second week of four episodes when the pieces fall neatly into place. Even as the series relies heavily on exposition and ticks off everything on a teleserye trope checklist, it still somehow remains very engaging. Everything from lost children to rich, overbearing mothers to blackmail; the series manages to keep you interested in the story. And over time, you grow to care about these characters more, thus sucking you in for the long haul.

Again, that is in spite of being as predictable as can be.

Unbreak My Heart Review

I believe the cast is the biggest reason the series is able to do that. There is no questioning the talent and charisma of Jodi Sta. Maria, Richard Yap, Gabbi Garcia and Joshua Garcia. They’ve already proven themselves in their previous projects. And that experience shows here as they are able to elevate standard soap material into something that isn’t a waste of your time.

The series has not asked much from them so far. But considering the material, there will surely be much more explosive emotional moments to come. And those are the kinds of moments that end up being so satisfying when watching these soaps.

So while Unbreak My Heart feels very familiar to any Filipino teleserye watcher, it leans into the tried and true to deliver a nonetheless engaging and compelling story.

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