‘LSS (Last Song Syndrome)’ review: Ode to lovers, dreamers

Jade Castro’s LSS sings a harmony of a heartfelt love song that there is between young lovers; it is fun, romantic, and is sometimes a tear-jerker.

‘LSS (Last Song Syndrome)’ is a charming manifest of the exemplary intertwine of music with life’s facets. Starring real-to-reel couple, Gabbi Garcia and Khalil Ramos, it warbles the story of Sarah, an aspiring singer-songwriter as she struggles in composing her fate. In the process thereof, her path crosses with that of a music geek named Zack, whose personal rhythm will soon harmonize with hers—but not too soon.

Following their first encounter, the leads walk their own paths and continue on to live separate lives, crossing each other’s minds every once in a while, until a few months later.

For instance, Sarah does gig at a mall while a handful of people casually just walk around with balloons in their hands like it is the new cool thing. Surely, that is an absurd and puzzling element worth noting, and the set design could have been better.

The moment they meet for the second time is the strongest and most endearing of all, with their hearts broken, crying out loud to Ben and Ben’s Kathang Isip, Zack from the torment of seeing his first love reconcile its troubled relationship with another woman, and Sarah from utter disappointment with the path her career is heading to, their weary eyes meet and what happens next sets the mood to a magical silence.

The lighting and subtle camera movement were impeccably orchestrated all in favour of that particular scene, add in the clever showcase of contrast between the seemingly chaotic set, with a distinct outburst of emotions, and the tension building up in silence between the two leads as if it was a dream in slow motion to be recalled.

The turn of events perfectly complements the romance build-up that is the tempo for the first half of the storyline; and as the leads’ individual lives engage in a romantic duet, the supporting characters get hooked into it and so the film goes into an upbeat orchestra.

On that note, Ruby’s character, commendably portrayed by Tuesday Vargas, was strongly written that it plays quite an overwhelming role in the character development of her son, Zack. Thus, it stands out among others, and even overpowers the leads to some extent.

As the story shifts from one tone to another, the leads get to dwell on their individual development—Sarah, still frustrated over her music career and the fact that her brother got ahead of her, while Zach goes deep into family affairs and tries his best to get his parents to reconcile before it is too late.

Just as Sarah gets close to reaching a milestone in her career, Zack decides to leave the country too soon and accompany his terminaly ill father throughout its medical treatment, not actually knowing when he will return.

The conflict feels rushed, as if it came out of nowhere, and is not enough to actually turn things around. Thus, it does not seem to outweigh or even justify the build-up of prior events and the collective growth of the leads that was strongly established until the supposed plot twist.

An instance that could have been explored so as to justify the conflict is that Sarah, notwithstanding her faith in Zack, could have agonized about getting into an indefinite, long distance relationship therewith or worse, parting ways as if their relationship is not worth giving a try.

Albeit being flawed on that aspect, the conflict manages to branch out into three plot devices: family, career and love. And so Zack and Sarah continue to sing their songs in solo, until they meet again for another magical moment, not in the tune of romantic silence, but in celebration of love.

The storyline wraps up with a decent ending, although just cheesy enough to have something finally compare to that of Disney Studio’s Lizzie McGuirre The Movie.

Overall, it is a fun and touching experience; the much awaited lines and performances of Ben and Ben are certainly among the charm of this film to the audience, let alone the undeniable chemistry between lead stars and real life couple Gabbi Garcia and Khalil Ramos, and their genuine talent in singing that were channeled all throughout. Tuesday Vargas is also one big star with her ingenious and relatable humor, and to say otherwise is a mere ignorance of the film.

Had it not been for the acting debut of Ben and Ben as among the casts, the film would have appealed as a mere tribute to the famed band. If nothing else, the film shows that there is a perfect Ben and Ben song to match any situation that life throws your way, and if you are a fan of them or any of the aforementioned artists, seeing this film must be crossed out of your bucket list.


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