Imagine being on a beach under the starry night sky, with someone who makes you feel complete. While this could definitely be a romantic relationship, does it need to be one? What about a deep friendship, a stormy relationship that isn’t necessarily romantic, that has lasted your entire life? Netflix’s 'My Amanda' is an ode to such an inexplicable relationship. The Filipino drama portrays the mostly platonic bond between TJ aka Fuffy (Piolo Pascual) and Amanda aka Fream (Alessandra de Rossi), even as the two manoeuvre through personal relationships and other obstacles.
The film begins with an establishing shot that brings you from the cosmos to the earth to show the two friends. This isn’t a gimmick, and the constellation is more than just a metaphor. Like stars in that constellation, Fuffy and Fream have always stayed together, and yet, cannot get closer. Everybody sees it. Even they see it and make jokes about ending up together, but still, keep running away from it. Even if they decide to do otherwise, other commitments come in the way. But without each other, Fuffy and Fream would lose direction. They need each other, and yet, not as society thinks they do.
Complicated, yes, but it is also a unique story, and My Amanda takes its time to tell it. Rossi’s aspiration to choose a story about the layers of love and the unexplored possibilities in life as her debut directorial venture deserves much praise. In fact, to tell a story that is excruciatingly slow at times and hardly seems to have a plotline, and still manages to hold on to her audience, is a big feat, indeed. You are introduced to different periods of Fuffy and Fream’s lives. The time jumps happen organically. While all this may be palatable to the audience, sometimes what bothers one is how there isn’t one real, tangible conflict to put a finger on.
More than its writing, the film stands out on account of its background music work. Also, kudos to the director for portraying a fiery character like Fream. The choice of costumes leaves a mark too. The camera movements, editing and visual colour tones all play their part in adding to the serene experience that this film is. In the end, as you emerge from a fairly fulfilling cinematic experience, you realise that Fuffy and Fream’s very existence is a conflict in a sense. They are destined to never get closer than they are. And therein lies the beauty of the film.
Director: Alessandra de Rossi