Movie review: Write about love

January 06, 2020
Write About Love (Official Trailer) | Miles Ocampo | Rocco Nacino | Yeng Constantino | Joem Bascon

WRITE About Love’ won several MMFF awards that it surely deserves for being an inventive piece of metacinema. It reminds us of “Adaptation” of Spike Jonze and “Stranger than Fiction” by Marc Foster. “Adaptation”  won a best screenplay award and is about the journey of writer, Nicolas Cage, trying to adapt a novel written by Meryl Streep. “Stranger Than Fiction” stars Will Ferell as a man who can hear the voice of writer Emma Thompson narrating his life story.

The movie opens with Miles Ocampo, a young writer, facing the members of the execom of an indie film company (that includes line producer Lea Calmerin fully made up in her first acting role) who tell her they like the story entitled “Just Us” that she has pitched to them. The problem is it’s too mainstreamish and another company is making a movie that’s similar to it, so she has to rewrite her work with the help of a more senior writer, Rocco Nacino, and they are given a deadline of 30 days.

We’re a bit uncomfortable with this because most of the indie companies we know do not have a formidable panel of experts scrutinizing the projects that are proposed to them. Indie companies usually have a limited budget and they do not even have an execom. And giving 30 days as deadline is also unheard of. Usually, they ask for revisions and the writer is just given a couple of weeks. Or days even.

Well, anyway, let’s just suspend our disbelief and accept the movie’s premise. Directed by Crisanto Aquino (who also co-wrote the script with Janyx Regalo), “Write About Love” is a tribute to screenwriting and movie making. It pays homage to award-winning writer Ricky Lee and his book on scirptwriting, “Trip to Quiapo”, and to the indie hugot movie that hit it big at the tills, “That Thing Called Tadhana”, directed by Antoinette Jadaone whose real life love affair with director Dan Villegas is also mentioned here. Even the sunrise in a sea of clouds featured in “That Thing” is also highlighted here in a beautiful revelatory sequence involving the lead stars.

While Miles and Rocco (their names are not mentioned) are collaborating to write their script, it becomes a movie within a movie. We see the characters in their story springing to life on the big screen, played by Yeng Constanino and Joem Bascon as Joyce and Marco. They’ve been living together for sometime, but Yeng, the vocalist of a band, has accepted to work in Korea so they end up being estranged from each other.

In the process, Miles and Rocco reveal more of themselves to each other, but as you start to expect that they’ll end up easily with each other, there is a twist in the plotting concerning Rocco’s own lovelife. Meantime, they decide that the characters they’re writing about, Joyce and Marco, will eventually reconcile for a happier ending even if one of them has been tragically diagnosed with a terminal illness. Well, we thought they’re avoiding being mainstream?

This might be the directorial debut of Director Aquino but he certainly knows what he’s doing. Technical aspects are all first rate, specially the seamless editing, and the narrative flow is very smooth and involving. Also, the movie is well-acted by the leads, Miles and Rocco, and they get great support not only from Yeng and Joem (who surely deserve the best supporting awards they got for their acting), but also from Che Ramos and Romnick Sarmenta as Miles’ estranged parents, and Felix Roco and Chai Fonacier as Yeng’s bandmates.

So why did the movie fail to attract audiences to the theatre? Simply because even if Miles and Rocco are fairly good actors, there is just no palpable chemistry between them. They’re both convincing in their roles, but they definitely have no “kilig” factor, which is a must requirement in romantic movies to excite the audience. You don’t really feel like cheering or rooting for them. Even when they spiritedly discuss the creative process and do brainstorming involving their writing, there just isn’t any visible romantic spark at all.

The movie is produced by TBA and we presume they really have their own execom. Didn’t anyone notice at all that the two actors they chose for the lead roles do not at all ignite the big screen? Miles, in particular, seems more suited to character roles. As someone behind us quipped when we watched the movie: “Hindi naman siya pambida.” Ouch! We personally like Miles, but we have to admit the truth somewhat hurts.