As a long time fans of Dewi Lestari’s works, I was admittedly distraught with the news of Filosofi Kopi being adapted into a movie. Really, though, after the beautiful mess that is Supernova, the too much of a hopeless romance that is Perahu Kertas, and the almost is never enough that is Rectoverso, I don’t really need another adaptation. But I was sold after a presentation by Angga Dwimas Sasongko about how a movie treatment should be and I swear he had all the right to brag. Because Filosofi Kopi is by far the best Dewi Lestari’s adaptation.
Ben (Chicco Jerikho) and Jody (Rio Dewanto), a pair of best friend behind a small coffee shop in Jakarta called “Filosofi Kopi”. They have a decent business, but Jody’s father enormous debt got them cornered and until a blessing in the guise of a challenge to create the best coffee in Jakarta – Indonesia, even – for the price of one million.
When all seems well because Ben succeeded in creating his own Perfecto, come a Q Grader called El (Julie Estelle) who said that no, there’s a better coffee compared to Ben’s Perfecto: Kopi Tiwus.
The first thing that crossed my mind after I watched Filosofi Kopi was that “I think I lost my heart somewhere.” And then “I fucking need a cup of coffee.” That may not sounds impressive, but that was how affected I was by this movie. And I found it queer, because in all honesty, Filosofi Kopi was not that special. It was great and it exceed my expectations, but it wasn’t special.
When you adapt a story into a movie, there are bound to be some changes which more than often are horrible when the original material is too short. Look at The Hobbit and how it was spread thin between three movies. So when Angga decided to adapt a few pages short story into a feature length movie, I know the story and the characterisation will expand. It’s not easy, and I commend Jenny Jusuf for being able to do so with such eloquence. The story was not stretched, but instead it had more dimensions and became whole. The characters had a chance to grow and become closer to a real person. Even tbe original character that is El was not a random female you put into screen so you can at least scored a little higher on the Bechdel test and had a female presence to light up the screen (although she does. She really does. Tara Basro too). I like Filosofi Kopi for the story and the characters, but that doesn’t change the fact that the story went down a road I saw before. And really, everyone having a bad past is a bit too much. I know nobody’s perfect and everyone had their own share of family problems, but to treat all of your characters the same way decrease their quirky qualities. And don’t think I missed that all the problems was because of the fathers. Whatever happened to the mothers – only the writers know. Though it did support the notion that men are the source of all problems in the family….
Anyway, despite being not that stellar and a bit lacking in some part, Filosofi Kopi was still more than able to got me sprawling all over my seats, making incoherent noises over the movie and basically cursing everyone on screen. I swear if I was watching alone, I’d have throw popcorn to the movie because that’s how afflicted I was. Well, Julie Estelle’s El was a tad too aloof and weirdly fake for my liking – or maybe that’s because I still see her as Ladya-slash-Alicia. Tara Basro was just there to light up the screen but left a striking impression. Jajang C Noer and Slamet Rahardjo could’ve become so much more because I think there’s a lack of depth in Pak Seno and Bu Seno, and simply naming the coffee after their deceased daughter does not solved the problem. Rio Dewanto was…. I don’t know, he was good as Jody but there’s still something off about him and his portrayal. But Chicco Jerikho, despite never even be on the list of Indonesian actor that I kept my eyes on, was nearly perfect as Ben. I kid you not. Out of all the characters, Chicco’s Ben just grab my attention and hold it in his palm and I found him the most intriguing and well written. Chicco basically blended with Ben’s character and it feels like he’s not even acting. That’s how good he was. And Otig Pakis as Ben’s father was also impressive, he stole the scene with that spark of madness in his eyes.
What made this movie special, then, was the treatment. There was just something with the way Angga mold this movie that made it feels so humane, so real, and yet at the same time very crowd pleasing. This movie is a product, that much is true, but it was clearly a product made with love and dedication. The coffee shop itself, the little details like clothing style and car selection, the attention and efforts were apparent. Even the product placement were smart, sensible, and piqued my curiosity. And I found the shots when they visit Pak and Bu Seno so irresistible it made me want to pack and go on a road trip. But what I love the most about this movie is how it treated coffee with such respect and adoration. All the shots that had coffee making involved was just too damn beautiful and Filosofi Kopi present coffee making as the art that it really is. Filosofi Kopi is the kind of movie that got you gulping because you desperately need the bitter taste of a cup of coffee in your dry throat, and got you wishing that you could had even a sniff of those heavenly scents. I’m pretty sure that even those who does not like coffee can’t help but to feel like getting a cup afterwards, and thus who already love coffee will become more of a caffeine addict after this movie. Considering that Angga once said that it was his goal to introduce about coffee – especially Indonesian’s – with this movie, I’d say he’s more than successful in doing so.
Just like Ben’s Perfecto, Filosofi Kopi is not actually perfect and it had some bitter tastes. But it still was a masterpiece of it’s own accord that represent the perfect blend of the heart and the mind. The movie was emotionally engaging and visually pleasing while still is very commercial. It was made with the right amount of rationale and gut feeling, the kind that I can’t help but to admire. Filosofi Kopi, for me, is the best adaptation of Dewi Lestari’s stories as far. Kudos to Angga Dwimas Sasongko who had successfully made this beautiful product – you are the kind of guy that a communication student-slash-popular culture enthusiast like me would really love to learn from.
Side plus points: Rio Dewanto saying “Cibai!” turned me into a hysterical wreck. Oh, and Ben is the kind of rebellious guy with a streak of refinery that could easily swooned you.
Director: Angga Dwimas Sasongko. Writers: Jenny Jusuf. Released on: 9 April 2015. Casts: Rio Dewanto, Chicco Jerikho, Julie Estelle, Jajang C Noer, Slamet Rahardjo, Otig Pakis.