My Amnesia Girl (Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2010) December 14, 2010Posted by Richard Bolisay in Asian Films, Noypi.
Directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina
Cast: John Lloyd Crus, Toni Gonzaga, Atoy Co, Joross Gamboa, JM de Guzman
Followers of Cathy Garcia-Molina’s films, myself included, know what to expect from her. She is a competent director, flawed but never boring and lackluster. One thing amiss is that she usually finds herself uncertain, and at some point struggling, when the film nears its end. To be fair, her consistency is an impressive feat. I cannot think of any film she made that can be called half-baked, uninspired, or uninteresting. The chemistry of her actors, love team or not, is also revealing, especially in the context of the genre she excels in. Romantic comedies are either boon or bane, and one of the reasons her films belong to the former is that her main actors (Toni-Sam, Toni-Vhong, John Lloyd-Bea, John Lloyd-Sarah) connect so well onscreen. My Amnesia Girl brings together two of them, both from the far end. John Lloyd-Toni is a virgin team-up, but you can easily see how comfortable they are with each other, how they roll themselves out and overplay their charm. “A breath of fresh air,” if you may allow the triteness. This breath carries the viewers through the film, from the lightheartedness of the first half towards the middle when Irene cries foul and Apollo grabs his second chance. These scenes unfold briskly, sugarcoating the story and covering it with spit at the same time, blighting the often problematic socio-economic background of the characters. John Lloyd and Toni simmer with superficial magnificence, which makes them more delightful to watch. I can imagine the bakya crowd of today celebrate as the highbrow stifle a laugh. Well, of course, Cathy Garcia-Molina can do this in her sleep—the lovey-dovey courtship, the squishy lines, the terrific supporting characters who do nothing in life but prod the couple—but sadly, in My Amnesia Girl, she tries to open one of her eyes. Irene apologizes to Apollo and everything fades, crashes, collapses. The spell breaks, the magic vanishes. Rather understandable is the stretch—the way I Do banks on it and falls short, despite making up for it at the end—but also unnecessary. It could’ve stopped at its peak, it could’ve stopped when the narrative is still imaginary, it could’ve stopped when the love is still there, when it is still trying hard to find its way in and out of the fat. Because above all things, love at first sight believes in second sight, and love at second sight believes in third sight, and so on and so forth, especially when all these sights take years to realize, and when the love in question is just waiting for the right moment to sigh and exhale. Good luck on subtitling.