Movie review: Kylie Verzosa gives best performance to date in 'Ikaw Lang ang Mahal'

Fred Hawson

Posted at May 22 2022 10:20 AM | Updated as of May 22 2022 10:40 AM

Kylie Verzosa and Zanjoe Marudo in 'Ikaw Lang ang Mahal.' Handout
Kylie Verzosa and Zanjoe Marudo in 'Ikaw Lang ang Mahal.' Handout

Andrei Parabuac (Zanjoe Marudo) was a young documentarist from Manila who booked a month's stay at the colorful Honta de Balay in Sagada to do a film about the Puerto Antimano art scene using old-school analog technology. He planned to do interviews with the three legendary senior artists who worked there, namely poet Butch Alipato (Joel Torre), painter Patring Cordero (Lara Morena), and filmmaker Eric Salamanca (Ronnie Lazaro). 

On his very first night, Andrei immediately caught the amorous attention of Ingrid (Cara Gonzales), a film director and fellow resident at the Balay. The next day, Andrei met Lira (Kylie Verzosa), a published novelist, who then invited him to attend a poetry reading party of her uncle Butch, with whom Andrei had an unpleasant first encounter earlier that morning. Andrei and Lira hit if off very well and soon get intimate. 

Director Richard Somes immediately set the mood of the whole film in an early scene when Andrei was being questioned by Lucrecia Debres (Evangeline Pascual) about his plans during his stay in her Balay. She represented the proud artistic community in Puerto Antimano and was very wary and defensive against pretentious outsiders, like Andrei, who may want to exploit the talented artists who thrived there. 

This film did not require the usual Parental Control PIN for mature content on Vivamax, so you might expect this to be a wholesome romance film. However, it turned out that there would plentiful artistically-executed sex scenes of Andrei with various women. The most ambitious one would be that open-air love scene set on a mountaintop, with multiple cameras catching all the intimate action from all angles. including overhead drone shots.

The film gave viewers an immersive experience of what it is like to be involved in a vibrant art community, especially with veteran actors Joel Torre and Ronnie Lazaro there with all the quirks of artist personalities. 

Zanjoe Marudo further proved his dependability in dramatic roles, and he clicked with Kylie Versoza as a romantic couple. As she was sensitively convincing as a fragile serious artist, this was Versoza's best performance as an actress to date. 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."