Tersanjung (English: Flattered) premiered on 1st April 2021 on Netflix. The 114-minutes-long Indonesian film is directed by Pandu Adjisurya, Hanung Bramantyo, and Nur Jihat Hisyam and written by Hanung Bramantyo and Pandu Adjisurya. The film stars Clara Bernadeth, Giorgino Abraham, and Kevin Ardillova alongside other cast members.
The Love Conundrum
Tersanjung is a free adaptation of a soap opera that aired in 1998 and went on till 2005 in Indonesia. The 7-season-long series is adapted in a film that is merely 114 minutes long which makes it apparent that the film will miss out on some crucial detailing, all the while keeping the main picks of the storyline.
Tersanjung revolves around the life of a young girl named Yura Puspita who lost her mother at a tender age leading her father to remarry soon after. And like every other broken element in such stories, step-mother Indah is not very fond of Yura. His father Gerry Hartono, a famous ex-singe,r loves his daughter but is seen dealing with the toxicity the stepmother brought in. Things take a turn when Indah arranges a meeting with an influential family, the Sadewo, from whom Indah has taken a huge loan to keep the family working.
The Sadewo family happens to have a son, Bob Sadewo, who they want to get married and of course, Yura is a beautiful person that fits the idea. As both Bob and Yura spend some time together, Bob finds it fitting to force himself on Yura like he owns her and calls her out as nothing but collateral for the loan her family has to pay. Defenceless, Yura does everything in her power to save herself and makes it out where she is rescued by her two best friends Oka and Ian aka Christian. The Sadewo then decide to reach Yura’s home with goons asking for money ordering them to vacate their home.
After the attempted rape, Yura never returns home although she maintains relationships with the family members and rightfully blames Indah for the same. She lives in a boarding house owned by Oka’s parents, attending university courses with him and Ian. Obligated to help support her parents and sister, she quits college and tries to get a job but nothing seems to take shape. So she, Oka and Ian open an outdoor noodle shop.
The venture is a hit and gathers attention. It is in the midst of all this that love develops between Ian (who confesses his feelings to her initially) and Yura but things take an ugly turn when Ian leaves to help his brother out but never returns, leaving Yura mentally, physically and emotionally suffering without answers.
The Good and The Bad Aspects
With all fairness, Tersanjung features a mediocre storyline and offers very little in terms of twists and turns. We know what is being served to us from the very beginning and we know the conundrum caused is inevitable. Clara Bernadeth as Yura Puspita and Kevin Ardillova as Oka Saputra are some of the best takeaways from the film. There is a sense of realness to their part and they make the most out of her characters’ happiness and misery.
Tersanjung plays around with the themes of classicism, sexual abuse, and the idea of true love, setting itself around 1998 Jakarta (In May 1998, during two deadly days of racially fueled mayhem, rioters killed 1,000 people and raped 87 women, mostly of the Chinese descent. Others cowered in their homes as the rape squads, reportedly led by army thugs, roamed the streets of Jakarta) the time of political and social tumult in the country. The film, even though set in times of such distress, offers no effect of the same on any character in the film making it something easily forgettable.
Moreover, Tersanjung offers no answer to the dilemma it poses. We get no answers about Ian’s sudden disappearance neither do we get to know what happened with the Sadewo family or why Ian’s family was acting suspiciously. It is as if the film picked up appealing prompts from the series and roughly stitched them together with messy loose ends and inside out seams. Other than a few character arcs, the film falls down miserably and develops on literally nothing but just picks incidences and drops them.
We get to see close to nothing about Yura’s pregnancy and her struggle as a single mother or Oka’s distress after coming to terms with what his best friend Ian has done. Additionally, it is weird how Yura forgives her stepmother in a blink because that is just not how it works. Even after hitting rock bottom, Yura’s boat sails without the hassle and it is just… doltish.
Stream It or Skip It
SKIP IT! Tersanjung has everything you have seen before and offers neither emotional catharsis nor creativity – it is just there. It is quite distasteful how the makers tried to cut 7 seasons and 7 years into 114 minutes just to lure viewers in the name of nostalgia to mint wealth. Furthermore, the ending of the film is intriguing but chucklesome at the same time. It also points towards the possibility of a sequel.
If you happen to watch the film and have any answers/theories about Ian’s final scene tell us in the comments!
Tersanjung is now streaming on Netflix.
Read our other reviews here.