Quick-witted, colorful, and raw. I’m Drunk, I Love You is a refreshing take on love and life. Unrestrained yet sensitive, this is a modern retelling of the classic tale of unrequited love.
SYNOPSIS: Days before graduation, two college best friends go on one last road trip where they settle how they really feel for each other. (from the I’m Drunk, I Love You Facebook page)
DIRECTOR: JP Habac
WRITER: JP Habac | Giancarlo Abrahan
CAST: Maja Salvador | Paulo Avelino | Dominic Roco | Jasmine Curtis-Smith | Jim Paredes | Irma Adlawan
Stories of love in Philippine cinema are often told through formula. Andyan ang magkaaway na babae’t lalaki; ang poor-guy-meets-conyo-girl and vice versa; at syempre, ang isa sa mga pinakapaboritong rehashed material: ang best friends—commonly featuring one or both parties hiding affection for the other/one another.
Nakakauta mang ulit-ulitin ang mga ganitong tried-and-tested formulae, mayroon pa rin talagang hatak sa mga manunuod ang sundan ang “will-they-end-up-together” mystery ng mga ganitong plotlines. At kahit iisa lang at medyo predictable ang end-result, viewers still tend to avidly wait and see how love springs from what was once deemed as purely platonic relationships, as seen in successful romantic comedies of years past like ang kwento nila Emmy at Enteng sa Kung Ako na lang Sana (2003), ang kanila Wacky at Cat sa She’s the One (2013) and of course, ang walang kamatayang Bujoy and Ned sa Labs Kita, Okey Ka Lang? (1998).
I’m Drunk, I Love You (IDILY) is guilty of this formula. Carson (Maja Salvador) and Dio (Paulo Avelino) are long-time best friends—seven years to be precise. After delaying their graduation in UP from their respective degrees (Film para kay Dio at Community Development para kay Carson) the two are finally days away from receiving their college diplomas. Dio, out of impulse, invites his Carson in a road trip to La Union to attend the Daluyon Music Festival. Best friend duties activated, Carson agrees even with the graduation rites looming and seeks help from her other best friend and personal time-and-reality checker, Jason Ty (Dominic Roco).
This pretty much sums up the plot. Trailer pa lang naman inilahad na ng pelikula ang intensyon nitong ipakita kung paanong sa loob ng mahigit pitong taon, itinago ni Carson ang pagtingin niya kay Dio at kung paanong, kasabay ng graduation nila, ay tatapusin niya ito, aminin man niya sa kaibigan o hindi ang nararamdaman. Enter Pathy (yes, with an “H,” played by Jasmine Curtis-Smith), Dio’s former flame who was later on revealed as the reason the La Union trip even happened, ang object of jealousy or heightened sense of insecurity ni Carson.
Experiential at hindi plot-driven ang pelikula. Walang internal struggle (kung meron man, it was tackled delicately that it didn’t look like the whole movie is about it), walang big reveal, or push-and-pull of emotions. It just is. Real and raw. That is the charm of the movie. It goes leaps and bounds beyond the exposition of unrequited love. It showed. It did not tell.
While the film primarily centers on Carson carrying a torch for her seven-year-old love for Dio, IDILY subtly talks about the different rites of passage its characters are going through. For one, naka-set ang pelikula sa upcoming college graduations of its leads. Carson and Dio are graduating in every sense of the word. Dio, who wishes not to attend the ceremonies, is set to go into law school. He takes this willingly as a way to give the quiet wishes of his parents a chance. Sa isang eksena, sinabi niya, “Panahon naman para pagbigyan ko naman ang gusto nila.” In a sense, he is graduating from thinking not just of himself. Pero ang mas malaking pagtawid na haharapin niya ay ang hinaharap. A life of taking chances—without his friends, without Carson to support him all the way. Carson, on the other hand, uses her upcoming graduation as a deadline to end her silent affection for her best friend. Para sa kanya, panahon na para tuldukan ang para sa kaniya ay pitong taon niyang “kagagahan”. As per Jason, “Seven years a slave!”
Love serves as the axis where the film revolves around but the direction of JP Habac was careful in portraying it as realistic, believable, and relatable as possible. Without an overly glossy representation. The output is a refreshing take on love and life in general. What worked here is how carefully drawn out ang mga characters, no small thanks to the story and screenplay penned by both Habac and Giancarlo Abrahan para makisabay tayo sa mga “trip” nila at para sundan natin kung paano kakawala si Carson sa seven-year-old sentiment nito toward Dio and kung paanong mag-eevolve sya into her own person.
Maja Salvador shines as Carson. A carefree, love-forlorn protagonist portrayed with candor and wit. Minsan lang nasosobrahan at nagiging overbearing ang mga banat at hirit niya na nagiging forced ang pagiging “totoo” niya. Paulo Avelino underplays his role but is undeniably charming. If portrayed otherwise, madaling ipako sa krus ng mga manunuod ang role na ginampanan niya. But he made it relatable that we understood and got, almost instantaneously, where he is coming from. He is a man of mystery and a man of an unrelenting search and this made his role well-rounded and whole. Comic relief naman ang papel na ginampanan ni Dominic Roco bilang Jason Ty. May paminsan mang signs of pagiging “rehearsed” ng character niya but his were the most memorable quips that gave Carson her much-needed doses of reality. In fact, mas aabangan mo ang pagsasama ng dalawa onscreen. The film can do away with one unnecessary subplot given to his character but that is forgivable. Otherwise, magiging gaya lang siya ng ibang sidekicks in modern cinema na ang silbi sa mundo lang ay ang sundan ang mga nangyayari sa buhay pagibig ng mga karakter na sinusupport nito.
Music, more than alcohol and the act of drinking, served more as a narrative device in the film. Why not? Being one with music can also be an intoxicating experience, di ba? In IDILY, the music of local musicians like Juan Miguel Severo, Kai Honasan, Ebe Dancel, Bullet Dumas, The Out of Body Special, Ang Bandang Shirley, Parokya ni Edgar, atbp were used either as narrator to the current state of mind ng characters o kaya naman simply as backdrop. Di nga siguro unique ito dahil nakita na natin ang paggamit ng musika in similar fashion sa mga pelikula gaya ng Rakenrol at kahit ng Ang Nawawala but the direction made it refreshing and the choice of songs, not too alienating to those who are not familiar with the said bands and songs, which is a good thing dahil madaling magmukang pa-hipster ang ganitong mga atake sa pelikula.
Overall, IDILY is a good coming-of-age tale of two people on the crossroads of moving on—from love and in life. Habac is a promising addition to the growing list of smart, and sincere filmmakers that have emerged in recent years.