‘My Bakit List’ review: Chore of a film

Bona Fajardo’s My Bakit List is a chore of a film.

It imagines that the scenario of being stuck in an impromptu road trip with two whiners can be entertainment. It cannot be any more wrong. The film, even with its puzzling use of all the picturesque tourist spots of Ilocos, is a dreadful slog. It is talky. It is pointless. It is just infuriatingly bland.

Soul-searching trip

Out of frustration, writer Dess (Louise delos Reyes) storms out of work to embark on a soul-searching trip to Ilocos. She brings along her gay best friend (Prince Stefan) and hops from one location to another, meeting locals and former flames, prompting both of them to ponder on the many whys of their lives.

My Bakit List is too unfocused to be truly pertinent. 

Its characters simply complain and complain, exposing a disgusting sense of entitlement while embarking on a trip that reveals their obliviousness to the true inequities. The film’s chosen perspective is problematic. Sure, the stories of the locals that it ploddingly unravels are somewhat interesting in the sense that they seem to be more grounded to simplistic realities than the concerns of Dess and her annoyingly cloying buddy. However, when those stories are digested by characters who are confused by their faux existential crises, they become rote and random, more desperate supplements to a film about nothing than profound insights on life.

Simply put, Fajardo’s film is just torturously stubborn about its blatant pettiness. 

PROBLEM. Dess (Louise) finds out her dad loses their home to gambling.

PROBLEM. Dess (Louise) finds out her dad loses their home to gambling.

False and forced

Thus, every moment where any of the characters express intense emotions feels false and forced.

There are lots of such moments that are meant to display some semblance of acting prowess for either Delos Reyes and Stefan. Delos Reyes screams at the top of her lungs while driving. Stefan tearfully laments over his boyfriend’s indiscretions atop a scenic cliff. Delos Reyes again wails while backgrounded by a pretty windfarm. All those moments are awkward. They’re all empty spectacles that only reveal how revoltingly shallow the characters of the film are. They repulse more than they endear. 

The film is difficult to settle into. 

It rides along the fad of filmed heartbreak stories but never attempts to dig deeper. It instead relies on endless gab, dumb clichés, and questionable displays of various tourist places that just do not make sense given the storyline. In fact, My Bakit List would work better if it simply admitted that it is tourist ad, that its sorry excuse for a plot is just a shoddy frame to put in as much hotels, activities and attractions of Ilocos in a film. 

SOLVING A PROBLEM. Dess tries to seek answers to all of her problems as she takes a road trip.

SOLVING A PROBLEM. Dess tries to seek answers to all of her problems as she takes a road trip.

Waste of time

My Bakit List is lazy, lousy and insignificant.

There’s nothing noteworthy to see here, and just absolutely nothing to learn about love and life to learn from here. It is a waste of precious time. – 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.