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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 16, 2022



‘MY AMANDA’ on Netflix is the directorial debut of Alessandra de Rossi. She also wrote the screenplay and stars as the female lead. 

It’s about a friendship between a man, Piolo Pascual as TJ and a woman, Alessandra as Amanda. 

This material about a man and a woman just being friends and having no romantic involvement at all has been tackled before in Hollywood flicks like “When Harry Met Sally” and “What If”, and in local films like “Kung Ako na Lang Sana” with Sharon Cuneta and Aga Muhlach, and “I’m Drunk, I Love You” with Maja Salvador and Paulo Avelino.  

Amanda and TJ are so at home with each other they even have pet names: Fream for Amanda and Fuffy for TJ.  

They can share the same bed without being tempted into having sex. They can even barge into to the bathroom while someone is taking a shower. 

They get matching tattoos to celebrate and immortalize their friendship. But as Amanda says: “A man and a woman can be good friends without falling for each other.”

Amanda’s grandma (Luz Valdez) says she expects them to end up with each other and the question hanging over their heads is: will they or will they not? 

Honestly, as we start to get bored while watching them do nothing but talk and talk and talk throughout the movie, we don’t really care. 

Someone we’re watching it with verbalized what we have in mind: “Magchukchakan na kasi kayo!” 

We know the movie is just showing that having a heterosexual platonic friendship is possible.  

But the problem is we don’t really get into the core of their friendship for us to really care for them. How did they meet? How did their deep camaraderie develop and evolve for them to became so close with each other? 

When we meet them, their friendship is already a given. Basta, close friends na sila, e. 

TJ is shown having other girlfriends while Amanda is shown marrying an on-and-of boyfriend (KC Montero), with Piolo giving he away at the altar. But their marriage turns out to be fake so she runs back to Piolo.

The movie is more concerned with coming up so many pa-cute scenes like showing them bickering a lot of times, do a lot of drinking together, take out of town trips, singing karaoke in a bar that ends in a brawl, watch the stars at night while lying down on a hammock. 

These scenes designed to make us really like the movie. But we get the feeling that all these pa-cute scenes are just their way of stretching what is honestly a very thin and flimsy material. 

If it were better written, then we could have known more about the characters and what makes them really tick. 

What makes they stay with each other? Do they have the same taste for books, movies, music? We don’t know. We don’t even know why Piolo is forever driving expensive cars.

The formula the movie follows is actually reminiscent of Alessandra’s monster hit with Empoy Marquez, “Kita Kita”, where they make you laugh a lot at the start, then the movie suddenly takes an unexpected detour later to make you cry with its bittersweet ending. 

In “My Amanda”, we hear Piolo’s voice-over narration all throughout the movie (it’s already very talky and still have such lengthy, volube narrations) and you’d think he is reading a letter addressed to Amanda, but it turns out it’s also addressed to another person named Amanda, who he claims changed his life drastically.  

As to how that happens, you have to figure it out for yourself.

We don’t really buy it and the resolution seems quite forced for us to give it a sentimental ending. What redeems the movie for us is the very relaxed, natural performances of both Alessandra and Piolo. 

Alex is really at her best when she plays free spirited women who can go from ludicruously uproarious to heartbreakingly touching in the wink of an eye. 

You can feel her vulnerability and the truth that she really has the hots for Piolo with the way she flirts with him in a way that is “birong totoo”. 

Does Alessandra and Piolo have chemistry on screen? Oh yes, they do, but not romantically but “bilang magkumare”. 

As Piolo himself says: “She’s just like a sister to me.” Sister daw o!