Review: ‘Wherever You Are’

Loosely based on the 1970 Italian film "The Sunflower,""Wherever You Are" is an over-baked, often silly melodrama that celebrates the eternity of romantic love. Preposterous plotting and exorbitant emotionalism overshadow a handsome production and likable acting to such an extent that pic was greeted with laughter at the Toronto festival.

Loosely based on the 1970 Italian film “The Sunflower,””Wherever You Are” is an over-baked, often silly melodrama that celebrates the eternity of romantic love. Preposterous plotting and exorbitant emotionalism overshadow a handsome production and likable acting to such an extent that pic was greeted with laughter at the Toronto festival.

Defying his vicious, ambitious mother (Charito Solis), Miguel (Richard Gomez) marries Cita (Dawn Zulueta), a peasant girl way below his social standing, who works as a singer in a sleazy bar. Unwilling to forgive him, mother refuses to accept the girl into the family’s ranks. Poor Cita goes from one humiliation to another, though clearly Miguel is head-over-heels in love with her.

The couple is forced to separate when Miguel realizes he needs more money than work in his mother’s pottery factory will earn. In his search for gold, he travels north, where he’s shot and wounded and loses his memory. But he’s saved by a lonely beautiful woman, who’s determined to conceal his true identity so that she can bear his child.

Additional obstacles (pregnancy, accidents, death) keep the lovers apart for as long as possible.

Almost every interaction involves screaming, slapping faces and hysterical sobbing — by both men and women. Pic is also unintentionally campy — a scene in which Cita removes her shoes and walks in the dunes looking for Miguel evokes Marlene Dietrich pursuing Gary Cooper in “Morocco.”

Nevertheless, helmer Siguion-Reyna shows talent for controlling the production’s physical aspects, orchestrating a fluid narrative style, and eliciting proficient performances from his attractive cast.

Wherever You Are

(PHILIPPINE)

Production

A Reynafilms Inc. production. Produced by Amida Siguion-Reyna. Directed by Carlos Siguion-Reyna. Screenplay, Raquel Villavicencio.

Crew

Camera (color), Romeo Vitug; editor, Jesus Navarro; music, Ryan Cayabyab; sound, Ramon Reyes. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival, Sept. 10, 1994. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

With: Richard Gomez, Dawn Zulueta, Charito Solis.
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