For starters, it was not clear in the movie which “love” was “untold”. Was it Ely’s (Daniel Padilla) past relationship with Celine? Was it Sagrada Familia’s architect Antoni Gaudi’s unreciprocated love towards, which many believed, to be the only woman he had his eyes on? In any case, the city of Barcelona provided a picturesque background for the love story between, Ely, a man who is being held back by his past and, Mia (Kathryn Bernardo), a woman who wanted to escape hers.
There are a number of plot holes in the movie as it tries to incorporate a number of side stories to provide obstacles for what was inevitable — the mutual attraction between Ely and Mia.
Why did Mia find it hard to know about Celine’s story (until Ely approved her friend request) while Ely, out of the blue, just stumbled upon Mia’s dark past? Ely’s family must be so poor that the dad (Joey Marquez) had to borrow from his estranged wife and Celine’s parents just to get by (not to mention Ely’s monthly remittances). And Ely is being sent to the architecture school in Barcelona by Celine’s parents because he is so proud to receive financial help from his estranged mother. That’s why Ely cannot move on and love another woman.
But getting the inconsistencies aside, Barcelona is a story of a man who tries to get on with his life after a tragic “accident” happened to his long-time love. He tries to move on and forget the past but it is not the past that was haunting him. It was his anxiety about the future that hinders him from pursuing his own interests (animations vs. architecture, Mia vs. what Celine’s family will say). He was the immovable object until the irresistible force of an allegedly Celine-lookalike appeared to him on a train ride. Just like that. He was smitten. But he refuses to acknowledge it. His heart says yes but his mind says no. Something’s got to give.
Luckily for Ely, he has Mia who was the one trying to keep what they have, with the latter thinking that their relationship is something special that’s worth fighting for. It was Mia who was doing the wooing because Ely was preoccupied with his own (mostly family) issues that he forgets about his own long-term happiness. But it’s undeniable that it’s Mia who is giving him the renewed excitement and zest in life as evident by his constant texts and calls to Mia whenever they’re apart (and even when they’re together in one scene, which was cute).
The movie tries to rehash old love stories and put it in an irresistibly captivating city with an in-demand “exclusive” love team. Despite its limitations, Barcelona is one movie that’s worth going to the big screen whether or not you’re a fan of the love team.
(Btw, I’m not a fan of the love team but I find the movie charming, both in its depiction of the city and its love stories, told and untold. My major disappointment is that, except for the scarf, there was no scene or even mention about FC Barcelona, Camp Nou or even football for that matter. I think it’s a big omission on the movie’s part. In my opinion, Barcelona is not complete without football.)