‘Kung Paano Siya Nawala’ review: A romantic film on letting go out of love

Director Joel Ruiz crafts an extraordinary story about love and heartbreak with the fresh team-up of Rhian Ramos and JM de Guzman in Kung Paano Siya Nawala.

The new romantic film Kung Paano Siya Nawala answers the classic question: Is it possible for the heart to remember what the mind forgets? At its center, is Lio (JM De Guzman), a young, solitary man whose ‘face blindness’ condition makes him hard to foster relationships with other people, and Shana (Rhian), a young, carefree woman who lives life to the fullest. Lio who lives an inhibited life opens up and later falls in love with Shana who harbors secrets of her own. Together, they struggle to build a relationship due to Lio’s condition and family drama.

The film particularly revolves around Lio and the difficulties in his life – his broken family, his loneliness, and his condition. While the film successfully paints Lio as a multi-dimensional being with the help of his flaws, it doesn’t dive much deep however into Shana’s manic pixie dream girl persona. Sometimes, she can be one-dimensional, with the film only spilling out her basic facts – she loves rescuing dogs, she has a complicated relationship with her family, and all of her obscure past defines who she is at the moment. This level of ambiguity also contributes in their struggle to keep their relationship going. Nevertheless, all those issues whether manifested through dramatic confrontations or just simply swept under the rug, will really tug into your heartstrings.

Director Joel Ruiz crafts an extraordinary story about love and heartbreak with the help of a great cast. JM does a wonderful job in portraying a character that would make us empathize with his difficulties. His strange and interesting condition will reel you in and the scenes where he mistakenly see people for someone else makes us care for him. Rhian, on the other hand, plays a simple yet charismatic woman that makes the audiences fall in love with her. It helps that she and her character almost share the same personality. As for the leads’ chemistry, Rhian and JM has a magnetic appeal to match up the film’s technical qualities and sell it’s heartfelt message. Apart from the unique and extraordinary love story, local band Up Dharma Down lends a soulful and poignant unreleased track entitled ‘Anino’.

To cut to the chase, the film’s message is capped off by Shana’s line in the trailer – that love transcends beyond physical recognition and it’s best remembered with the emotions you once had with the person. What makes this film good is it’s a realistic take on modern relationship plus, it ends up by giving its viewers the hope to love despite whatever troubled past that binds us today – whether it’s a broken family, alcohol and substance addiction, a mental disorder, or jealousy from a previous partner. Its an unapologetic film that tells us to weigh in the reasons why we love someone in the first place and try to take a chance on those feelings again.

Kung Paano Siya Nawala opens in cinemas nationwide on November 14, 2018.

4 out of 5 stars

Directed by Joel Ruiz. Written by Joel Ruiz and Aldy Adlawan. Starring Rhian Ramos, JM de Guzman, Agot Isidro, Barbara Ruaro, and Ricky Davao. Produced by TBA Studios and Arkeofilms.

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