By Heinrich Domingo
It is a shame to see a capable cast acting in a ridiculous plot. Derek Ramsay and Kiray Celis’ outstanding performance seems ill-fitting on a hastily sewed story. While Love is Blind lectures the crowd on loving outside physical appearance, it stereotypes farmers as poor and laid-back and artists as hipsters and unattractive. It is a film that assumes the role of being progressive while encouraging that there is a single definition of beauty. Irony and hypocrisy became this movie’s theme.
A hotel intern (Kiray Celis) falls in love with a handsome guest (Derek Ramsay). To make him notice her, she desperately asked a friend (Kean Cipriano) to make a love potion. The potion turns her into a ‘better’ version of the man’s ex-girlfriend (Solenn Heusaff). Yet, Derek’s character realized that loving means looking beyond the physical appearance, the intern find herself in a big trouble. Love is Blind gives hope to ‘ugly’ people that they can find love through deceit. It boxes women into self-loving creatures who can do nothing but please their men partners.
In a time when the Western cinema celebrates femininity through broadening the definition of women as revolutionary (Joy), independent (Brooklyn), and strong-willed (Star Wars), we see a backward take from the Regal Film. Here, we look into a brand of comedy that celebrates how the likes of Kiray (short, brown-skinned, and flat-nosed) can never be loved by well-built and chiseled-face men like Derek.
While the plot is unforgivable, the main cast sufficiently portrayed their roles. Derek, despite yet another bad-boy-turned-romantic character, was still fun to watch. Solenn, despite a better performance in Lakbay2Love, surprised the audience by showing her quirky side. And, Kiray, despite being an object of mockery, deserves this big break in the show business.
It is curious to note that despite Philippine cinema being swarmed by talented screenwriters, a screenplay like Love is Blind can still clinch a spot in the mainstream production house. The story might argue though that the film’s ending portrays a realization of its errors. Derek in the end goes back to her girlfriend with a promise that he will embrace farming. Kiray finds out that she is secretly loved by her friend. The film, from the beginning, is clear of its message, but in the process, notices that maintaining the status quo is actually more profitable than fighting it. So, why not just milk from the stereotype first and then show an underemphasized change of heart before the film credits roll.
Cinema audience deserves more than shallow story that grapples on how to reach an ending. In an era when Filipino cinemas combat with international movies, our writers and directors have a lot to prove. Writer-director Jason Paul Laxamana is familiar with this. After all, he is a regular competitor in many independent film festivals here and abroad. Hence, it is highly disappointing when a celebrated filmmaker like him wastes the chance when given a spot in the mainstream cinema scene. It is just saddening.