MMFF 2016 Review: Saving Sally

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Avid Liongoren’s Saving Sally took 10 years to make, but it’s worth the wait. It’s a fun, quirky, and relatable watch, and a film I would love to see over and over again.

Saving Sally tells the story of Marty (Enzo Marcos), who is in love with his best friend Sally (Rhian Ramos). It’s a story we’ve heard (and maybe experienced) many times, but what sets this apart is how it was filmed. Marcos, Ramos, and the rest of the cast are real, but the set is mostly animation. They are also accompanied by 2D animated monsters, who only Marty can see. This alone makes it worth seeing, as the world Liongoren creates is incredible.

The story is relatable because at some point in our lives, we’ve all been Marty: the hopeless romantic who is relegated to be the best friend because we’re too shy to express our love. And in the rare cases when we muster the courage, we are rebuffed. And of course, everyone is familiar with the pain of seeing our beloved with someone else.

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But there are bigger issues at play. The film, after all, is called Saving Sally. Like a video game, Marty must save Sally from abusive parents and a (literal) dickhead boyfriend. Don’t mistake Sally as a helpless princess, though. She can save herself, she just needs a little help.

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The friends I’ve talked to about Saving Sally said it reminded them of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and 500 Days of Summer. I agree, to some extent. Sally is similar to Ramona Flowers and Summer Finn, and there is heavy use of animation and quirks. But Saving Sally adds its own flavor, with Marty struggling as an indie comic book creator (Sally is an inventor), the hassles of having strict parents, and in Marty’s case, nosy ones.

Saving Sally is a film that doesn’t need heavy acting, but I enjoyed watching Ramos’s vulnerability and Marcos’s awkwardness. Sally’s parents, played by Shamaine Buencamino and Archie Adamos, were intimidating and gave a touch of creepiness.

The film proves that you can take an old story and present it in a fresh and innovative way. And I’m happy to see that a film like this can be made in the Philippines. I’m excited to see more.

Saving Sally is one of the eight entries of the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival. The other seven films are Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2, Die Beautiful, Kabisera, Oro, Seklusyon, Sunday Beauty Queen, and Vince & Kath & James. All films are screened in all cinemas nationwide, and will be screened until January 7, 2017.


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