Manny Palo’s ‘What If’ is a straightforward Filipino romantic drama. The title reflects the concern in relationships – what if certain things were initiated before things went for a toss? The story is a plain, run-of-the-mill story of a married couple who, once in love, however, have turned to detest each other. With a new problem arising every passing minute in the course of their honeymoon, it becomes difficult for them to stay in one room. The sudden death of the pesky mother of Jecs brings them together in the end.

What If (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

A popular singer, Jecs Cruz, meets Billie at a restaurant. Will, Jecs’ manager, convinces Billie to be the keyboard player. Their collaboration brings them closer, and they start dating. When the couple broaches the topic of their marriage to Billie’s father, her father turns hostile. He discourages them to get married as his own marriage was a mistake. This affects Billie as she remembers her father making her feel unwanted ever since she was a child. When her father tries to draw a comparison between both marriages, Billie smirks and tells him that a comparison here is unconvincing as Jecs does not punish her or shout at her when she makes mistakes, let alone hit her.

This provokes her father to leave the restaurant at once. To punish her further, the father steps aside from their marriage and does not arrive on the wedding day. The narrative commences when the married couple set out for their honeymoon. They leave for Panglao Island, where friendly guides and caretakers are always at their disposal. Within days of their arrival, however, a typhoon engulfs the island. The typhoon also parallels the tumultuous waves that rock the relationship between Billie and Jecs.

Why does the relationship between Billie and Jecs splinter?

The first night on the island hints at the strains that are about to intensify. First, Billie finds a girl liking Jecs’ photos on Instagram. Although this conversation has the capability to turn tense, it is cut short by a phone call from Jecs’ mother. Jecs’ mother annoyingly pesters the couple to have a baby. Jecs’ mother calls Jecs to tell them about a certain herbal oil, called dragon oil, that helps to get pregnant. She also tells Jecs that she has said about Billie’s ‘condition’ to a relative.

The conversation annoys Billie. Even their caretakers keep reiterating the prospect of having a baby after the honeymoon. When Jecs tries to pacify Billie, Billie has an emotional outburst. Soon, we are shown the moment when Billie reveals that she suffers from premature ovarian failure.

This means that Billie might never be able to bear children. Billie states this to Jecs clearly before marriage and tells him not to expect anything from her regarding this. The condition has been a recurrent talking point in all their arguments. Before their marriage, Billie asks Jecs to reconsider his decision to marry her as she cannot get pregnant.

What If (2023) Movie Ending Explained
A still from What If (2023)

Jecs’ mother and her obsession to have a grandchild remain a bone of contention between the two. While Jecs continues to placate Billie over his mother’s words, Billie expects a little better understanding on her part. One night, when a storm hits the island, the couple starts bickering over Jecs’ punctuality in vlogging, even amidst an emergency. Billie suspects that his eagerness to vlog even in such rough weather is due to the fact that he will get to engage with Sunshine. Sunshine, as revealed by Jecs himself, is Jecs’ fan. Billie demands the truth from Jecs about Sunshine. To this, Jecs replies that the two did indeed flirt with each other for a while.

In her next phone call, Jecs’ mother insults Billie and laments over her son’s decision to marry Billie. She calls Billie ‘barren.’ However, what upsets Billie is not her mother-in-law’s words but the nonchalance of Jecs in defending his wife. Jecs’ laugh does not go down well with Billie as she feels he supports his mother. Jecs, on the other hand, explains that the laugh was a reaction to her mother’s conservative attitude. Billie feels stuck as she cannot relate to this version of Jecs, who has promised that their love would be enough to sustain the marriage. The conversation ends with screaming and breaking down.

Billie stumbles upon a video of Sunshine that shows her at a chat show. On the host’s persuasion, Sunshine hints at a probable sexual liaison with a popular singer who is now married. Billie is convinced that she is talking about Jecs. However, Jecs is not ready to accept it. He calls Sunshine a clout-chaser who is only interested in fomenting a fire of controversy to remain in the spotlight. However, Jecs entangles himself in his lies, and Billie finds more evidence as support to her claims. After Jecs gets drunk and blurts out the long-kept secret regarding Sunshine, Billie is heartbroken and terrified. The next morning, she prepares to leave the island.

What If (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

Does Billie return to Jecs?

On her way out on a boat, Bille receives a phone call. On the other hand, Jecs, too, receives a phone call from Dianne, his sister. Jecs gets to know that his mother has passed away. Dianne tells him that she ate what she was not supposed to eat, leading to her death. The sudden death of Jecs’ mother brings the two together again. Jecs notices Billie returning on the same boat in which she left. After arriving, she consoles him. Both of them talk it out and apologize to each other. While the rupture is still present, the film leaves with the possibility of rekindling the relationship. The film ends with Jecs’s words, “Are we ever gonna go back to how we were?”

Read More: Everything Coming to Netflix in September 2023


What If (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Letterbxd
The Cast of What If (2023) Movie: Alessandra De Rossi, JM De Guzman, Chara Ocampo
What If (2023) Movie Genre: Drama/Romance, Runtime: 1h 52m
Where to watch What If

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