I like discovering actresses like Saving Sally‘s romantic interest, Rhian Ramos. She’s a woman who knows how to understate the spunkiness of her character. The movie she’s in is a love story coming from a country that churns out love stories every month. But I admire the presentation here. She and her co-lead Marty (Enzo Marcos), both teenagers, live in an unnamed and animated Filipino city. There’s a mix of live action actors and an animated mise-en-scene. Avid Liongoren Saving Sally is a labour of love, finishing it in 12 years after changes in funding and casting. He focuses a lot on the animation, which is in refreshing and stunning 2D.
It’s also unfortunately a bit saccharine. It’s basically one of the metaphors that the film uses to blunt the edge of what could be sharper commentary. Liongoren also writes a basic plot for these characters. He adds another romantic interest for Sally named Nick (TJ Trinidad) and puts Marty in the friend zone. So it’s that kind of movie. We’ve all been that friend before. But making movies like this just makes more geeky boys who think they deserve girlfriends instead of earning them. Teenagers should not have to make the same mistakes Marty and we all have made.
There are some things that charm here. The piano based soundtrack makes everything light, counterbalancing of the heavier subject matter that the film covers. And the way they met is also great, since Sally’s the one rescuing Marty from a bully. It proves that she’s the polar opposite of useless. He’s also just returning the favour by saving her from a douche bag boyfriend. The film portrays the supporting characters as literal animated monsters that Marty slays. These supporting characters like most things in the film, deserved deeper treatment.