[ random movie time ]
This is The Mood Film of the century.
Watching Siargao (2017), I had many questions. Was I watching a tourism advertisement? (I was). Is this a Nat Geo documentary? Is Paul Soriano addicted to drone shots? Why does this movie feel like an actual aesthetic vlog? If I go to Siargao, will I also develop abs?
Siargao is a visual treat. Before anything else, before the story and script, before Hale’s Alon crooning in the background, the beauty of Siargao predominates. It’s a small town, they say, but it boasts white sands, breathtaking sights, and the best waves in the country. The eclectic and free-flowing mix of tourists, side characters and chill get-togethers are calling all of us to Siargao.
The romantic and personal plots were subtle, and easy enough to appreciate. Thankfully, the movie didn’t devolve into a predictable love triangle. Siargao features vlogger Laura (Erich Gonzales) as she sets out to discover who she really is in the face of a troubled relationship, and troubled rockstar Diego (Jericho Rosales) as he figures out where he truly wants to call home.
The chemistry of the two main leads is palpable and natural. It is an extension of a script that flows well. There are family dramas and egoistic conflicts in the background, but they are treated as they would be in real life, neither exaggerated or brushed aside.
I loved their relationship for its maturity and easy communication –new friends that casually made out once and supported each other the rest of the way, you know?
The biggest conflict and mystery comes in the form of Jasmine Curtis-Smith’s Abi, a local of Siargao who is revealed to be Diego’s old flame. Maybe love interest. As I said, the history is never really made clear; death by exposition is thankfully absent from this film (I’m still so mad at Ang Panday, haha!).
The hints to their past just remind me of every bad break-up and awkward falling out ever. They were meant to be, but Diego left for Manila and Abi can’t leave Siargao. “People don’t fall in love in Siargao; people fall in love with Siargao,” indeed.
If the movie made more effort at establishing the depth and chemistry of their love, or if the actors themselves made the most out of their subtle scenes, I would have felt more investment and less discomfort. In truth, the subtlety may have been too much; I am unsure why she won Best Supporting Actress (maybe, again, because of a lack in competition).
But nevertheless the storytelling sufficed, and Gonzales’ easy charm continued to impress me. Her acting was also fluid, portraying a woman who was in turns buoyant then deeply heartbroken. She brought to life a love story that we only see through vlogs and memories.
I recommend this film almost entirely for its visual artistry, and maybe only half for the story. If I muted this film and looked only at the waves, I would be content.