Darius is a former high school literary and feature writer that loves reading books, listening to music, and watching movies.
Calling 2017's Filipino romcom film "I'm Drunk, I Love You" as another romantic comedy flick is a pure overstatement. The film is literally and figuratively an art piece of paint splattered on a blank canvass and hung on special, high-quality museums.
It's a rare case for me to love something I'm not used to because I had never let myself love it in the first place. A rare case to find something worth it because of bitter deprivation. Yet just like real-life phenomenon where love circulates around rampant internet and social media posts, videos, and other mediums, it's a complicated conundrum of magnificent feelings worth to have and experience. It's a complex, well-thought out movie to ponder even if the movie reveal its layers in plain simplicity. And though this can be inferred as another love story, the film subverts viewers' expectations for not being and for not living as one.
I'm Drunk, I Love You
1 Hour and 51 Minutes
February 25, 2017
- Director: Jaime Habac Jr.
- Music composed by: Jerrold Tarog
- Screenplay: Jaime Habac Jr., Giancarlo Abrahan
- Producers: Armi Cacanindin, Daphne Chiu
Let's start with the genre: romance, comedy, independent. Does the movie uphold a romantic comedy movie basis? It does and it doesn't. I kind of think that it falls between. There are certain parts where it's romantic, and parts where it's comedic. Heck, there are even parts that are plain relatable and tragic. But I think the overall, general feeling of the movie is the looming ambiguity for following the slice-of-life of three distinct character stories.
The slow-burn progressions towards the ending is a seemingly open-ended statement for the viewers to discuss among themselves. It's chaos amidst placidity, and I like it. It makes you not only follow these characters to their journey, but also makes you think about them.
The movie itself has a sluggish, slow-burn pace to let its viewers fully experience the story. It's like steadily chewing a five-star or a michelin star meal made from a prestigious restaurant because you want yourself to be fully immersed with the flavor. And despite its almost two-hour run time, it somehow feels like it was a "Humans of New York" type multi-series where each part of the story is more immersive than the last.
It also has a rising to falling feeling, having a very memorable climax, and an almost bittersweet ending. It's those movies where you don't only talk about it because you've watched it from a cinema, you would talk about it because of their non-cringy dialogue, subtle symbolism, hidden metaphors, and dynamic characters. The plot, in an overall view, is plain, simple, and ordinary but the way it was conveyed beautifully is complex and well-written that it didn't feel like a normal, everyday story at all.
Each scene is packed with something worth writing in a notebook, dialogue, and all. Heck, some scenes didn't even need dialogues to convey meaningful messages. It's just there, existing, letting you have the freedom to wonder what the characters are thinking and feeling. And don't get me started with their usage of cinematography. The way it swerves in directions like a drunken person feels as if you're half-drunk watching a movie. The overlay of hue, tones, and color palettes are chef's kisses.
And music. Oh, the music. The proper usage of music in every scene, the songs the characters sing, plays important elemental roles because they usually convey the main character's train of thoughts and emotions. And when they don't, they often tell different feelings that usually contrast what we see. Like putting another story within a story.
It's not entitled "I'm Drunk, I Love You" for no apparent and particular reasons. The characters of the story literally drown themselves from bottles and bottles of beers and liquors. And it's never put in the film without a purpose, as well. Each character has their own redeemable, relatable traits we can acknowledge. And each also has flaws within themselves, typically embodying irony in such subtle yet noticeable ways.
We see these characters drink their despair and problems away hoping that they would go away, like putting cheap bandages on bleeding wounds. I mean, who in the right mind would stay by someone's side for seven freaking years all because of the name of love? And who wouldn't? The way these characters shed their layers for us to know them deep enough made us realize that these characters portray someone we know, or might even portray the viewers themselves. And don't get me started on how I discern these characters falling in the idea of love rather than falling in love because it's going to be lengthy as hell
Imagine holding yourself back for some time from important life things, be it for education or work, just to receive a response worthy to appease all the time you've waited and effort you've put in to. That's just plain stupid if you are thinking about it right now. Oh, but some people do stupid things for love. And for them, each stupid moment is a random make or break chance. It's like holding on to something you somehow needed for your life, but life itself tells you otherwise. Now that's not a shocker at all, and the lucky ones are the usual success stories you find in forums, comments, and printed anecdotes. But the rest? They usually end up hoping for more each day only to find out that it wasn't really worth it whatsoever.
Even though the odds are pretty much inevitably against you, it's the things you feel, think, and do that keeps you holding on to ideas that maybe, just maybe, these efforts are going to get paid off in the end; that may be a one-sided love for a very long time, the amount of time and semi-romantic endeavors, would somehow be worth it once the other side of the coin flips for you. It's weird to think that some people would go through such lengths just to wish someone's attention, affection, but these "some people" do exist. And the edged side of this is that this "someone" might be someone just in front of you.
I have to be frank that I'm not particularly fond of romance movies, especially those made by my own countrymen. Some of them are just plain too cheesy, too corny, too cliché-ish that I would rather have my money spent on essential objects and other recreational activities rather than on a theater ticket spending the next few precious hours and having it all wasted. And even if I am willing to watch some, the total would only be counted in the fingers of my hands.
But then again, it's this curse that I've put on myself that I got deprived of numerous Filipino and romance films that are worthy of both praise and overall standing ovations. It was this curse that hindered me in exploring "gems" created by artists and creatives, those that really shine in an ocean of the darkest skies. And it was this curse that made me realize that I was being hypocritical in a sense that I also write stories, amateurish screenplays, and poems above anything that encompasses the feeling of love, people in love, falling in or out of love, and the idea of love.
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So, I re-analyzed and "corrected" myself. Maybe I was just too ignorant and naive about these products of art. Or maybe I was just plain and boring, a person with average to ordinary personalities, that I find these movies non-relative to my own everyday existence. Or maybe I was just oversaturated by the same, multiple, all-year-round romantic movies being shown on televisions and big screens where each common tropes and plot devices are recycled from already disposed of garbage. I may have been at fault for being the non-romantic-cinephile person that I became because, as one popular saying goes, there's always treasure in a pile of trash.
Also, upon self-realizations, I once wrote a short poem about drinking, getting drunk, love, and everything in between:
Let's say cheers
To the love I forced and gave,
To the time I've wasted away,
To the broken promises made.
And let's say cheers
To my unstoppable eagerness and desires,
To the stars that never fell down from the heavens,
To you, my most favorite of all the vices.
It's like an ode to everything intoxicating. Maybe some things just the way they are. And maybe some things will never bend and break. And that's okay. It's liberating once you've mustered enough courage to prove yourself that some things are better accepting than having in reality. All those heavy, irrational bags you've been lifting are now taken care of. And maybe, things aren't so bad even if it stays just the way they are. At least, you've journeyed in an experience you'll definitely carry in the long run. You've learned to guard your heart. You've learned to offer and give only what is necessary. And you've learned that, even though gallons of liquor and getting drunk won't take the pain and hurt away, you're stronger and wiser than you were before. You're freer to decide what is right and what wrong. And you're more open and prepared for challenges you'll encounter in the future.
What I love about the ending is that it gives you a glimpse of the two main characters while a very meaningful background song is playing. It is ambiguous, vague, and open-ended. It freely lets the viewers decide to where the story will lead and how these characters will continue progress the story. It really isn't an, qoute and unqoute, ending but another start to more future stories worth telling. The film's story won't end with them, it will only end if you openly navigate and decide it to. And I think that's a wonderful allegory to how real-world stories are told. It is, per say, a subversion of the plot-driven system we're used to see every day. And it is satisfactory payoff even if you won't notice the tensions and conflicts that arises throughout the whole movie.
If you want to or are interested to watch the whole movie, you can watch it on YouTube in TBA Studios channel. And don't worry about the language barriers since the movie in this YouTube channel's already subbed into English.
© 2020 Darius Razzle Paciente