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A scene in the movie involving Arini (left) and her husband Prasetya.
A scene in the movie involving Arini (left) and her husband Prasetya.

THE heart-wrenching Indonesian movie Surga Yang Tak Dirindukan portrayed many life lessons. Director Kuntz Agus did a good job.

The anticipated sequel seems to guarantee another sob-fest. It is directed by Hanung Bramantyo and sees Laudya Cynthia Bella (Arini), Raline Shah (Mei Rose) and Fedi Nuril (Prasetya) reprising their roles. Upcoming Indonesian actor Reza Rahadian and Malaysian actress Nora Danish have supporting roles.

If you haven’t watched the first movie, here’s a brief recap. It tells of a love triangle between Arini, her husband Prasetya and Mei Rose. Arini and Prasetya are happily married and have one child Nadia (played by the adorable Sandrinna Michelle). But their lives takes a turn when Prasetya marries Mei Rose.

The drama sets in from there. As time goes by, Arini comes around and welcomes Mei Rose into her life. However, Mei Rose is guilt-ridden about marrying Arini’s husband. The ending of the first film saw Mei Rose leaving the couple to pursue a life of her own, despite not getting a divorce from Prasetya.

It was released in 2015, giving Hanung sufficient time to build the second movie’s plot from the tearful ending. The second movie is mostly set in beautiful Budapest, Hungary and centres on Arini who is now the renowned author of children’s books, on her first international book tour.

She is accompanied by her assistant Sheila (Nora Danish). Nora does not have many scenes but her character’s bubbly and easygoing personality easily stands out.

As fate would have it, Arini bumps into Mei Rose after visiting a mosque in Budapest. The duo are happy to be reunited and spend lots of time together. However, things take a different turn when Arini falls sick.

In comes Dr Syarieff (Reza) who treats Arini. She is told that her cancer has relapsed and has spread to her brain. Arini tries to keep the truth from Prasetya and Nadia but ultimately the truth reveals itself.

Knowing that she will die soon, Arini persuades her husband to be with Mei Rose as she does not want her daughter to grow up without a mother. However, Mei Rose and Prasetya do not agree to her wish as they have moved on with their lives. Also, Mei Rose is now romantically involved with Dr Syarieff. Phew, talk about drama!

I won’t spoil the ending for you but it is definitely not what I had hoped for and I am a tad disappointed.

One thing I admire about Indonesian actors is their ability to portray their emotions so powerfully that you can’t help but empathise with their characters during the sad scenes. Raline, for example, impresses me with her raw emotions and ability to be fully immersed in her character, while Laudya beautifully encapsulates the sacrifices a mother would make for her child.

Surga Yang Tak Dirindukan 2 teaches us about love, and, most importantly, sacrifice.


DIRECTED BY Hanung Bramantyo
STARRING Laudya Cynthia Bella, Raline Shah, Nora Danish, Reza Rahadian, Fedi Nuril, Sandrinna Michelle
DURATION 121 minutes

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