Acharmingly naive Filipino variation on the familiar theme of “life imitates art,” “Delirium” revolves around two attractive youngsters who meet on the set of a TV commercial and instantly fall in love. This appealing, generic romantic meller about the thrills and complications of first love may find a following in urban locales with large Asian communities, as well as at international fests.
House-sitting her sister’s condo, the 18-year-old Jessy (Giselle Toengi) gets to experience independence for the first time in her life. Chosen to appear in a new perfume commercial, she meets handome Gerard (Jomari Yllana), who’s cast as her lover. When the two begin to date, Jessy’s concerned friends are alarmed.
At home, each youngster has a bag of problems to deal with. Gerard’s sick father dies, which makes him responsible for his irrepressible younger brother. Realizing that she’s fallen passionately and obsessively in love, Jessy’s friends try to protect her from disappointment and unrealistic expectations, but to no avail. The couple separate, but can’t get over each other.
When the commercial airs repeatedly and successfully, it makes the estranged lovers only more miserable, with their obsession turning into feelings of fear and anxiety. Bound by contract, they are compelled to reshoot a scene for a milder version of the spot. The disastrous on-the-set encounter scandalizes the entire crew, but after some loud exchanges, the tale find its predictable romantic ending.
As literal as its title, “Delirium” captures the sweet, all-consuming nature of first love. The movie is co-directed with a measure of campy humor by Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes, who unabashedly use soft-focus close-ups, slow dissolves and swelling music to heighten the emotions. Ultimately, though, the movie owes its success to the charisma and good looks of its two stars, Toengi and Yllana.