The Artistry in Saving Sally


Rating:  Amazed


Finally got started with a feel good, visually orgasmic novelty of a film for this year’s MMFF. How I managed to squeeze in a movie date on a work day with my hard-nosed son is an interesting back story in itself. Suffice it to say that I made a good pitch by nicely asking him to accompany me to an animated and 2D film in English. The popcorn bribe worked well in quelling the brewing dissent. So we got to watch the LFS of a movie that took 12 years of painstaking work, no… make that artistry… to finish. It is worth the wait and every cent I paid for the tickets and the bribe treat.

It is a typical love story with all the pain of unrequited love and the protracted pleasure of saving-sally-5enduring love winning over all obstacles. With the protagonists drawn against the animated backdrop of what is obviously a stylized Metro Manila,  moviegoers are not only engaged in the unfolding love story and its many twists but are constantly examining the celluloid for those bits and pieces of symbolism in the animation that give away the moods and feelings of the main protagonists. The few characters appearing in this film make for a good balance of simplicity in the story and relatability in their roles.  The movie is in English, yet it is not the annoying sounding coño (conyo)-accented, shrill way delivery of some Filipinos.  It’s spoken the way a Filipino speaks English naturally which is unslang and not irritating.  All characters delivered their English dialogues in sync with their roles.


There are the usual twists …. the school bully, the dick of a boyfriend,  abusive elders and being in a rut…. that provided the conflicts in the film leading to a foregone conclusion.

Even a home is not a refuge….


While the movie is about Sally (Rhian Ramos), Marty’s downtrodden character played by Enzo Marcos is the one I empathize with the most. Rhian is a good actress who played Sally just with the right amount of characterization to show the complex emotions of a beautiful abused girl who takes great risks for a shot of happiness.  Enzo’s looks and laidback acting defined Marty’s character, one who won’t lift a finger to take a risk even if his heart is bursting with love, disappointment or anger.  It’s so believable that Enzo becomes Marty and vice-versa.   One that we want to give a bit of slapping or shaking up and push to do what he is supposed to do.  At certain points, Marty becomes so irritatingly wimpy that we just like to flick our fingers for him to snap out of it.  The good-looking and suave TJ Trinidad also fits the dick-boyfriend to a T.  The parents and foster parents are all in character and gave believable performances.

Now, let’s talk some more about the artistry which maybe one of the reasons the movie was 12 years in the making aside from lack of funds.  This long delay is another good back story  in itself.  It’s a story of patience, resilience and steel determination.  The attention to detail is unmistakable.  The artworks look like a veritable collection with the minutest details executed in intricate drawings to create the stunning moving visuals that live action meshes with wonderfully.   Just take a look at all these photos.  The imaginary world of Marty was clearly plotted like how the makers want us to see what’s in his mind.    The clever play on words can be seen in these artworks as well.  Try to notice the pun and subtle suggestions made by places like Sandara Park (a Korean singer, actress and host  who appeared in some Filipino shows and movies), Tuk Mall (dumb ass) , Ka Wawa (pitiful)’s Store, Washing Well (referring to a laundry), Kosmik Komiks and more puns that can elicit a smile or a chuckle.

The details are not lost too on the major places that are part of the everyday life of Sally and Marty.  As residents of the metro, one cannot miss the uncanny similarity.

You should watch this movie not because it’s been rated A by the Cinema Evaluation Board of the Film Development Council of the Philippines but because you want to see for yourself that my view is not at all an exaggeration. To prove my point, as the credits were running, I asked my son what he thinks of the movie. He replied, “luv it”…. not an easy admission for someone coerced and bribed to watch this movie.


Let’s patronize all entries in the 2016 MMFF…. so much for escapist craps we had been served in the past. These indie films are gems that mark a renaissance in Philippine cinema.

Postscript:  I do hope that  Saving Sally will be shown to the global audience and get appreciated better.  It’s unfortunate that movie goers would much rather watch blockbusters and commercial films than one made with painstaking labor of love.

(This was originally posted in my FB status while the MMFF was ongoing and I was one of the warriors wanting the film to succeed.  For this review, I beefed up the original post.)

Photo credits:  Grabbed from the internet.

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