tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘Amnesia Love’ Lacks Wit and Inspiration

Paolo Ballesteros stars in a problematic film about a gay man who forgets who he is

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Amnesia Love tells the story of celebrity stylist Kimmer (Paolo Ballesteros), who falls off a seaside cliff while hiking and washes up on the shore of a remote island in Mindoro. He wakes up with amnesia, remembering nothing about who he is or what he does. He doesn’t even remember that he’s gay, and he soon gets roped into a romantic rivalry concerning the barangay captain’s daughter, Doray (Yam Concepcion). Doray actually starts to become infatuated with him, which becomes a problem as his memories begin to slowly surface, and the truth about who he is comes closer to being revealed.

The first sequence of this movie is indicative of what the rest of it is like. In it, Kimmer walks into a club with his friends, and two characters we don’t know and don’t really see again talk about the character to introduce a mountain of exposition. Rather than let us get to know Kimmer in an organic way, the movie just awkwardly has characters spilling way too much dialogue to talk about the history of the character. It’s indicative of a general lack of wit and inspiration, the movie often taking the clumsiest, most artless route toward delivering its scattered narrative.

The film invests early on in the general awfulness of Kimmer, which would make one assume that the story might be about the character learning to be more decent to the people around him. But that isn’t what happens. The character doesn’t really get to grow, because the character as introduced isn’t really around for most of the movie. Macky is for all intents and purposes a completely different character. And there really isn’t much in the plot that involves him trying to remember who he is. The bulk of the film just plays out as these barely-connected vignettes, detailing how the character’s inherent homosexuality is expressing itself in spite of the loss of memory.

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The movie seems to play much of this as comedy, the scenes depicting stereotypically gay qualities as a punchline. Macky trips and delivers a high-pitched scream. Macky sees some nets and starts wearing it like a head scarf. Macky is disgusted with Doray’s sexual advances, and instead glances over at a hunky fisherman. For as much as the film displays an acceptance of homosexuality as a whole, it still feels weirdly dated in its attitudes. This doesn’t even get into its depiction of women, particularly Doray, who gets really problematic in the third act.

The direction does little to help the comedy along, and the production values don’t quite feel up to snuff. It feels like local TV in the worst way. Paolo Ballesteros is a naturally charming performer, but this is far from his best role. Yam Concepcion is clearly game in any scene that she’s in, but there just isn’t much to this character. Vandolph Quizon shows up as the butt of an overly long joke, but he does occasionally add a layer of slight depth to a character written to be nothing more than an empty villain.

Amnesia Love isn’t much. It’s light on wit and inspiration, its attempts at comedy often falling flat due to stodgy filmmaking. Its premise is potentially intriguing, but the screenplay doesn’t really latch on to anything that really takes advantage of its more unique elements. It floats aimlessly for an hour before heading into a baffling third act that involves completely bonkers character decisions and a completely unearned stab at sentiment. It certainly could be worse, but there’s very little in here to recommend.

Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.
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