By DJULIENNE FLOR V. FOSTER
PEOPLE ARE always in search of what will make them feel whole; something or perhaps someone that will make life more fulfilling. It is always a challenge for them to chase after whatever it is they seek because obstacles will arise to try and stop them. Having someone who believes in them gives them the strength and courage to overcome those challenges. But they come to a point where they ask themselves if they should hold on or simply let go.
Directed by Jade Castro, LSS (Last Song Syndrome), is one of this year’s official entries for the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. LSS has won five awards at the awarding ceremony of the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, for “Best Supporting Actress”, “Best Original Song”, “Best Sound Design”, “Special Jury Award”, and “Pistapp Audience Choice Awards”.
The film follows Sarah (Gabbi Garcia), an aspiring musician who dreams of getting her big break but is discouraged by the people around her to make it a hobby, and Zack (Khalil Ramos), an individual on a quest to find the love he desires. On their way home, they meet because of a mutual interest in Ben&Ben, an OPM indie-folk band. Sarah starts to share about her experience in the music scene. She notices a stuffed toy Zack was holding, and he says it was for his best friend whom he had loved for years. They encourage each other to not lose hope; Gabbi with her dreams, and Zack with his struggles in finding love.
After their parting, they try to go through their own problems, but fate seems to pull them together. They come along with Ben&Ben after Sarah was hired as their assistant. Zack tags along to find his father who was diagnosed with cancer. As they slowly grow closer to one another, they realize and decide what they really want in life.
The chemistry between actors Garcia and Ramos can truly be seen in the film. Through their actions, one can see their characters’ personalities and their determination to pursue their goals. Unlike most mainstream films, the progression of their relationship is not sudden, as the audience can see how they eventually become close. From being strangers, they bonded over something that was precious to them. In their hopelessness, they found hope in each other.
Unfortunately, the film has not clearly shown Zack’s conflict, and it comes out rushed and out-of-the-blue. Though it is clear that he wishes to seek for love, Zack’s conflict was not clearly explained, unlike Sarah’s. The audience can see his struggles but it takes a bit of time to understand and analyze what exactly he is striving for. In spite of the delay, by the end of the film, one can see what kind of love he desires.
LSS is not the typical romantic-comedy one might think it would be. Sarah and Zack did not choose one thing over another. They kept their promise to pursue their dreams and never lose heart. The film has also accurately portrayed the struggle of choosing between a practical job and a fulfilling dream, an issue that many people can relate to.
They also did a wonderful job of depicting modern society through a few noticeable details, such as Zack’s best friend and former love interest being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, his mother being outspoken and liberal, his parents being separated, and the mention of Tinder. The film’s amazing soundtrack which featured songs by Ben&Ben, has showcased the beauty of OPM, making the whole experience a movie and concert in one.Ultimately, the film shows that dreams are possible if someone believes in their abilities to reach their dreams and ambitions. In turn, they start to believe in themselves. Such is the strength of words and the determination to never give up on the search for whatever will make life worthwhile. F