Writer-director Jason Paul Laxamana is really one of the busiest filmmakers in recent years. He had four feature films each year from 2016 (including "Mercury is Mine"), 2017 (including "100 Tula Para Kay Stella"), and 2018 (including "Bakwit Boys").
This 2019, he had a 6-episode iWant series called "Project Feb. 14" as well as the films "Between Maybes" and "About a Stranger," and this one titled "Ang Henerasyong Sumuko sa Love."
The story revolves around five members of a group of friends who know each other from childhood, and are set to graduate from college together. They went to a lakeside resort to camp overnight and had their final blast before facing the real world.
The five friends decided to pledge that every year that followed, on April 26, they will visit this same location to go camping and catch up on how they were on their dream of success and changing the world.
This film is actually a collection of four short films about five young people, bookended by their reunion one year after their college graduation.
The first one was about Ma-an Miranda, played by Jane Oineza. Ma-an resigned from her first job as PA for a local cable company because she felt it was beneath her capabilities, and became a vlogger. After seeing how popular vlogger Rachelle (Thia Thomalla) used her body to snare viewers, Ma-an thought of spicing her own vlog up with a sexy personality furthest from who she really was.
The next one was about Denzel Zapata, played by Jerome Ponce. He was the gay guy in the group, and he had a father who fully supported his gender orientation. He put up his own resto-bar business which was doing well. However, he cannot bring himself to commit to one relationship, even if he thought his latest guy, Wesley (Anjo Damiles), may already by the right man for him.
The third was about the couple Hadji Sarip and Junamae Quiambao played by Albie Casino and Myrtle Sarrosa. He was a hopeless romantic movie buff who lived vicariously in the rom-coms he cried buckets over, and she was a pragmatic girl who did not want to label their relationship as anything. They were living together despite the different ways they viewed love, which eventually led to problems.
The last story was about Kurt Agapito played by Tony Labrusca. Right after graduation, his mother immediately gave him the responsibility to earn for his younger brother's schooling. (This was despite the fact that he had an older sister who was already a doctor!) He accepted graphic design projects left and right in order to come up with the money. He did all of this at the expense of his sleep, his social life, and his mental health.
Easily the worst character in the whole film was Kurt's mother (Chesca Inigo). She was a monstrous composite of all terribly wrong things parents do and say to their millennial children. She is a cold, uncaring scapegoat for all the psychological ills of the current generation. This was the cautionary message Laxamana gave to the older generation watching this film. I know that our children may not be able to receive our words as we intended them, but his mother's words were awful to hear for any generation.
For a Gen X-er like me, this film was a revealing look into the so-called millennial generation and the problems they faced in the world today -- the social media obsession for likes and follows, the dating apps that corrupted morals and relationships, the evolving definitions and labels of romance, and the amplified pressures and competitiveness of work.
Explanations nor solutions were not the point here: Laxamana's film is a plea for understanding and compassion for his misjudged generation.
This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."