‘Amnesia Love’ review: Easy to forget, hard to love
MANILA, Philippines – For sure, Albert Langitan’s Amnesia Love has good intentions. Unfortunately, the film’s misguided execution drowns such intentions underneath tons of needless rubble.
No character to root for
A party opens the film. Two friends, seeing Kimmer (Paolo Ballesteros) and the company of socialites he keeps, starts to talk about him, his sudden rise to fame and his unsavory attitude against other people.
The two ladies’ discussion about the social media celebrity is all the film needs to shape the film’s main character. It is all the audience needs to know: Kimmer isn’t a character to root for. It doesn’t help the film’s cause that we see the character reject a fan’s request for a selfie with him, which he only begrudgingly grants after being told so by his more understanding boyfriend (Polo Ravales); or give unreasonable demands to his nanny, which his nanny only follows out of her surrender of her employer’s place of power and privilege.
Those scenes, most probably done for erstwhile giggles, only reinforce the fact that Amnesia Love is a film about a man who deserves the amnesia but never the love.
So Kimmer falls off a cliff and gets rescued by islanders who discover that he has no recollection of his life before his accident. This is where Langitan’s film gets a bit more interesting. On the island, while struggling to remember anything from his past, he parades as a straight man, even to the point of establishing a romantic relationship with Doray (Yam Concepcion). Every once in a while, he gives off hints of his flamboyance, such as when he trips while walking on the beach and lets off a high-pitched scream or when he chances upon a chiseled fisherman and swoons.
Again, everything is mostly done for laughs, reinforcing the fact that the film barely has the muscle to etch a clever point out of the conceit.
Gunning for hilarity
It isn’t wrong for Amnesia Love to be gunning for hilarity.
What is really unfortunate is how the comedy derails the film’s desired effect to say volumes about its protagonist’s sexuality or, at the very least, make the protagonist a notch more endearing than he is.
Worse, the film’s comedy isn’t exactly noteworthy. Its jokes are uninspired and there are long stretches of dullness that separate every uneven attempt to be funny. Langitan, who previously worked for television dramas, seems almost oblivious of his material’s possibility for both wit and wackiness. He stubbornly latches onto the latter, mining the narrative of a gay man who wakes up possibly straight for every inch of humorous absurdity.
The result, sadly, is a film that is just easy to forget.
Amnesia Love fails to leave an indelible imprint on anything. Its happy ending, which is only outwardly commendable because of its unabashed celebration of equal love, feels undeserved because the film neglects to grant its main character a plausible arc of redemption. It is all lip service. The film fails to register any real emotion out of its cardboard cutout characters. Shallowness defeats all of its noble intentions for either entertainment or any real rallying point for progressive attitudes.
Amnesia Love is just lousy.
It wastes so much time foolishly carving a hero out of a harlot, thinking it is funny and somewhat profound. What it forgets is that there are gaping holes in its narrative and unexpected curves in its advocacy. Most everything else is intolerable and boring nonsense. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' Tirad Pass. Since then, he's been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.