SPOILER WARNING: The following review contains details and plot points from the movie.
Love is Love starts as a typical comedy film with a hint of romance. But as the story about Roxanne Barcelo’s true identity in the film unfolds, moviegoers will come to know why it’s more than just that.
The film opens with a leadership speaker named Anton (JC de Vera) eager to meet his best friend Wacko (Neil Coleta) whom he hasn’t seen for years - only to find out upon getting to the airport that the latter couldn’t come home.
Instead, Anton meets a woman named Winona (Roxanne Barcelo) who introduces herself as Wacko’s fiance.
They soon find out that apart from Wacko, the two of them have a mutual connection in the form of a transgender woman named Greta (Raymond Bagatsing) and her husband Calvin (Jay Manalo) who are getting married soon.
Anton, who owes his successes in life to Greta, agreed to drive Winona to the latter’s resort miles away from the city so the latter could make it in time for the pre-wedding festivities.
While Anton has already shown signs of falling for Winona along the way, he chose to dismiss his feelings for her. And it was only upon arriving at their destination that the two started to develop feelings for each other.
But just when things started falling into place, Winona began feeling guilty about keeping her biggest secret from Anton. The same goes for the latter who started to feel uneasy about the fact that he’s falling for his best friend’s fiancé.
And so, the confrontation scene finally happens: Winona tells Anton her much-kept secret: she is Wacko. That’s right, Winona is Anton’s best friend who is now a transgender.
While the two didn’t end up together, Anton came to forgive Winona after realizing that their friendship goes beyond labels and genders.
At the end of the film, Winona found the right guy for her and it wasn’t Anton.
More than the perfect exchange of punchlines, the film delves into deeper issues that would definitely educate viewers about problems faced by the LGBTQIA+ community without sounding too preachy.
JC de Vera and Roxanne Barcelo portrayed their characters so naturally, they make good chemistry onscreen.
Apart from the main cast, the film’s supporting characters such as those of Rufa Mae Quinto and Marco Alcaraz as well as Keana Reeves also played important roles that made the film all the more interesting to watch.
Although one of Jay Manalo’s scene which tackles depression might make viewers feel uncomfortable as apart from being too graphic, it seemed to have popped out of nowhere.
Then there’s Raymond Bagatsing whom we all know could deliver beyond what’s expected of him. But in Love is Love, he is simply a revelation—thanks to his emotionally charged lines. His character leaves a mark on the viewer, hopefully enough to recall during awards season.
While Love is Love has its fair share of hits and misses, the realistic portrayal of actors in the GB Sampedro-helmed film make up for its shortcomings.
Love is Love is now showing in cinemas nationwide.