I chanced upon Avid Liongoren’s Saving Sally about a decade ago and being a 16-year old then, I was thrilled to learn about the story and his plans on how to execute the film. However, since it took a long time before the film was finalized, I have completely forgotten about it until this year when they announced their attempt to join the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
The eccentric and nerdy Sally was portrayed by Rhian Ramos, and her aloof and artistic best friend Marty, by Enzo Marcos. Saving Sally is your typical love story. Boy gets rescued by a girl from a bully, they become best friends, one develops an unrequited love, the other falls for another person, you know the drill. It was actually pretty predictable but the narrative was light and charming that you’d be leaving the cinema with happy and contented smiles on your faces.
Even then, however typical its plot was, Liongoren’s story-telling was out of the ordinary. He incorporated animation into live action which I was pretty apprehensive at first, but it totally worked. Not only that, but the animation and the cinematography were astounding that you wouldn’t think the film was locally made by just 5 people in the production. The colors were eye-candy, the graphics were at par with Hollywood films, and the use of CGI was seamless. The creation of Saving Sally was definitely worth the long wait.
The lead actors, Rhian Ramos and Enzo Marcos, were both naturals. I believe their good on-screen chemistry helped in making the audience feel as if they were actually who their characters are. This was my first Rhian Ramos film and I must say that she’s actually a really good actress. I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing Sally.
Saving Sally is an achievement for the Filipino film industry. Watching the film proved how it is possible to showcase love stories without being overly cheesy and without cringe-worthy dialogues. More importantly, it proved that Filipino filmmakers are more than capable of creating quality movies with excellent film elements all throughout. This was not a movie that singularly aimed to profit; it was born out of love for the film and the audiences.