24 August 2018 | leevillanueva-91569
A Very Human Story
I watched this film the week it came out, and I was blown away.
The island backdrop, establishing shots, and tourist vibe at the beginning gave the movie a sense of wanderlust shared with its primary POV character, Laura, while slowly introducing the sense of community the residents share. This creates a great contrast with Diego and his initial detachment to this magical place. Meanwhile, Abi serves as the perfect foil to Erich's naivete, and Jericho's devil may care persona, as the island-girl who never left but knows exactly who she is supposed to be.
While the three may be the most focused characters, and you could argue that Laura served more as a framing device by letting us see Siargao through a fellow outsider's eyes, than a lead character; every single character felt alive and real to me. To me, the top billing should go to the island itself. Siargao is able to communicate in a way that none of the actors can, while still highlighting their arcs, and not stealing the spotlight from them.
This story ticked all the emotional boxes: remembering your family, a lost love, and a chance to make it all right again. Overall, I feel that the message of this movie is this: Sometimes, you need to lose yourself so you can find your way back home... And it delivers that message in a way that resonates with viewers, and stays there even after half a year from the last time you watched it.