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Half-Romantic, Half-Derisive

Author: charliekoon from Philippines
1 October 2008

If sincerity, ideation, and passion for writing are the basis of a film's triumph, I will praise Eddie Romero and his tandem Rica Arevalo's endeavor in retailing a story which is nearly conceived as a taboo even in our generation. Unfortunately, I was not even half-impressed with the film itself. Teach Me to Love makes me feel giddy when it comes to its storytelling. Its camera works is not even minimalist, rather it is dull. I am baffled if this really is directed by Eddie Romero – who is a National Artist for film by the way. Teach Me to Love is an utterly boring film.

The synopsis and the trailer of the film found in most sites tells roughly of the entire movie, (except for its last scene). I would fairly talk about the film's incoherence and dialogues that lead to mockery. The film started with a flashback until the climax and another flashback from its remaining scenes. Anyway, the story structure is disjointed and is confusing. It did try to develop the characters until they get older, but it is still simply lame and awful to see.

There are too many elements in the film that look like frivolous distractions to what is supposed to be focused on. Mark (Nathan Lopez) has a huge crush on her Physics teacher Connie (Maui Taylor). It's supposed to be sparkling romance between a teacher and a student, but it was not able to solidify to be able to back-up its climactic moment. Yes, its efforts to confound their personal backgrounds are admirable but it looks contrived. For more than a decade of Mark's existence, is it only now that he would apprehend his mother's affair with another woman? Surely at this point in time, they have patched major issues in the past. Connie is having an affair with a married man. The wife has doubts with her husband's fidelity after seeing a jewelry receipt. She actually hired at some point in time (we don't know when) a detective to grab hold of her husband's adulterous acts through photos. Based on the story's progression, the incident in the photos happened before the wife has doubts. Okay, if she has doubts before which is obvious, the confrontation scene might likely happen earlier. The point is all the scenarios happen at one fell swoop. This makes the story become truly muddled. We have to be reminded of the plot, not to be too occupied on the complexities of their characters. And it has a lot of loopholes. Even with the aid of the flashbacks, I can't consider the film as nonlinear as those two flashbacks is conspicuously chronological - which is why it is a concern.

The dialogues in the film are leading to incomprehensibility. It is at times redundant and contradictory. The dialogues sometimes start with a doubt, as if the writer is at that time also asking what he is suppose to write down. Almost all the characters sound mediocre in their lines, except for Elsa (Sharmaine Buencamino), mother of Mark, whose lines are I think quite natural. Buencamino is the only one who gave a fine performance in her minor portrayal. The appearance of Lopez after seven years is idiotic. Taylor looks like she reincarnated her role in Torotot, with the same expressions and appearance. Alberto (Ricky Davao) is entirely out of place in his lines, his passions, and sounds unimpressive as a lawyer.

Teach Me to Love tries to capture the theme of love so most people could easily relate. But its obsession in character layering and complexity just adds confusion; loosing focus on it's supposed plot. The dialogues have a messy reasoning and at times I can't help myself cackle for the wrong reasons. Its execution is a complete mockery of its theme. Eddie Romero who attained the title as National Artist in Film will always be respected. His past works will forever have the impenetrable vitality and artistic clout. The efforts in making the film less pretentiously artistic and more accessible to the everyday human soul is adequate. But Teach Me to Love is just not groundbreaking. It is a direct indication of where we are heading. If a National Artist can't make a superior film, then who will be enthused.

Rating: 1.5/5

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