MMFF 2013 New Wave Full Length: Island Dreams

Island Dreams is so adorable that it’s borderline bad.

Let’s break down the details on why.

Upon his friend’s request, Zach (Alexis Petitprez) goes on a quest in the Philippines to find True Love’s Peak, an island that holds promise of finding true love to anybody who sets foot as long as one dares believe it.

There he meets Julie (Louise delos Reyes), a Filipina who hopes of one day becoming a famous singer. To achieve her dream, she offers tourist guide services to foreigners. And this is where Zach and Julie’s story start.

You seem like an intelligent girl. “No, I’m smart.” What’s the difference?

Together they explore the islets and forests of Batangas. Alongside their nature expedition, they also delve deeper into each other’s contradicting beliefs on true love and build a bond over the short period of time being together.

What made this film click is the excellent work on the backdrop, the light and funny dialogues, the all-original musical scoring, the charming lead actors, and most importantly: Chantal La Torre’s witty character and Irma Adlawan’s effective portrayal as Julie’s blind mother whose wisdom served as her path from start to finish.

Huwag mong ipagkait sa sarili mo ang maging masaya.

Delos Reyes and Petitprez’s chemistry on-screen is lovable and it will surely evoke feelings of early stages of falling in love and refusal to love. She is well fit for her role, natural acting brims from her. Some scenes involving Delos Reyes even made me tear up a bit. As for Petitprez, he succeeds with flying colors on being a charmer. One of the film’s highlights is Adlawan’s words of wisdom for her daughter:

Alam mo kung anong pinakamahabang paglalakbay na gagawin mo sa buhay mo? Mula utak hanggang puso. Yun ang pinakamahabang paglalakbay na gagawin mo.

It’s a light and hearty movie that aims to bring back hope to the hopeless romantics who’ve once lost their spark but I feel like it played safe. It is pretty, pretty, pretty that the positivity of it being pretty is not making up for its weak narrative. There’s also these two implausible scenes: first, Zach and Julie rides only one habal-habal along their journey and as the two picks up a fight, (poof!) another habal-habal driver suddenly enters the frame to make Zach’s exit more dramatic. And lastly, this scene might have been unnoticeable in a computer screen but on a widescreen it is obvious: there’s this girl whose supposed to be terminally sick, she has chapped lips and difficulty speaking and yet she still managed to put liquid eyeliners –that’s being beautiful at a scene that needs her to look sick and simple.

Ultimately, Island Dreams seem like a mainstream story presented in an indie fashion. The cinematography is quite solely the reason why this is a good movie. It’s not something I could proudly tell my friends to go ahead and watch for its totality because it just isn’t. Although I guess this has a relatively good chance at scoring the box office, if ever they offer it to a wider audience because why not? Love (and shiny things) sell, always.

Rating: 7/10

Watch the trailer HERE.

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