Telling tales

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By Zsarlene B. Chua, Reporter

MMFF Movie Review
Write About Love
Directed by Crisanto B. Aquino

THIS YEAR’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) only has one romance (in contrast, 2018 had three: Girl in the Orange Dress, Mary Marry Me, and One Great Love) and it’s not really that much about romance but more about how art imitates life and how people would try to escape their realities and rewrite their lives if they could.

Write About Love, directed by Crisanto B. Aquino, has been described as “a tribute to the unsung heroes of cinema — the screenwriters” by its producers TBA Studios, veiled as a romantic film.

The story follows a budding screenwriter played by Miles Ocampo as she tries to pitch her first script, Just Us, to prospective producers. She initially gets the green light but after producers notice that the script resembles another, more popular, film, they ask for a rewrite — and she will helped to do so by a cynical yet successful writer played by Rocco Nacino.

The first half of the film consists of the two trying to work together: Ms. Ocampo unwilling to redo her work while Mr. Nacino tries to rewrite it in a way that follows “the popular formula” which means heartbreak galore.

As they try to write the script, the audience gets to see Just Us get built and rebuilt as the script’s characters Joyce (Yeng Constantino) and Marco (Joem Bascon) navigate their tumultuous relationship.

The film within the film initially follows the formula of people falling in love and eventually breaking up, but what Write About Love succeeds in is showing the writer’s struggle in building a cohesive story as a deadline looms and real life interferes.

And the deadline is looming — this writer became increasingly anxious as an onscreen countdown revealed how much time the two scriptwriters had left to submit their work, which led to disbelief when the two characters decide to go soul-searching less than a week before the deadline.

Write About Love is formulaic — they meet, they fall in love, they struggle, they come back together — but the story is pretty solid, built to show how it takes so much out of a writer to get a script out: the emotion and the previous traumas needed to write a good script.

A heart-wrenching scene in the second half provides closure for the female writer, though the same cannot be said for the male writer whose story arc is confusing and is resolved suddenly.

The film has its moments of brilliance, like the aforementioned heart-wrenching scene, and another in a hospital (the transition from bar to hospital was seamless), and has moments of “Huh? Why did this even have to happen?”

It also has a few jokes in between and they landed perfectly.

Joem Bascon delivered a really good performance in this film while Yeng Constantino was lukewarm at best, but she did try.

In all, I would buy a ticket to watch Write About Love because it’s not unnecessarily heavy or dark and has a pretty solid, well-thought story with just a few snags here and there.

MTRCB Rating: G