The best way to see Crisanto Aquino’s Write About Love is not as a romance but as a personal – but sometimes alienating – ode to love.
Dullest of love stories
The film centers on an aspiring writer (Miles Ocampo) whose screenplay gets greenlit but with the condition that she allows a more experienced writer (Rocco Nacino) to assist her with the revisions. Expectedly, work bridges them close enough to be romantic.
Sadly, the chemistry between Ocampo and Nacino is non-existent.
The film doesn’t allow the two actors enough opportunities to make their possible romance believable or, at the very least, worth rooting for. Their conversations exploring the possibilities of elevating a formulaic rom-com are drab and wooden, a failed attempt to turn the creative process into emotional interludes.
Even sadder is how the film within the film, the very product of the main characters’ long nights of brainstorming, doesn’t contribute anything to its ambitions of fleshing out the complexities of love. The fictional romance of an engineer (Joem Bascon) and a singer (Yeng Constantino) is bereft of any new insight about relationships, undoing what should have been a clever conceit of a blossoming romance between two creatives resulting into a work that represents newly learned experiences and realizations.
However, even with all its failures, it is difficult to dismiss the overwhelming earnestness that fuels Write About Love.
When the film doesn’t aspire for the common pleasures of a love story, it actually becomes quite sweet and meaningful. While it struggles to infuse romance into the creative process, its portrayal of the process being collaborative, of it being a melding of personalities, imagination, experiences, disagreements and compromise, is notable. Aquino amply reveals not just his vast experience in filmmaking but also his quiet understanding of what happens behind the scenes.
The film sounds good on paper but it fails to register fully.
What resounds more than the film’s skin-deep discourse on love and relationships is its appreciation of the struggles of writing, of how unsung individuals expose much of themselves to create stories and characters out of thin air. Sure, Write About Love isn’t exactly successful in this department, but the respect for the creative process is palpable.
Some right notes
Walk into the film expecting a delightful love story, and you will probably end up disappointed.
Thankfully, the film offers other things than bland romance. Write About Love isn’t all wrong. There are some right notes there hiding beneath all the blandness. – 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.