A Girl + A Guy Review: Eerily Familiar Yet Uncomfortable
A Girl + A Guy is messy—as finding love goes
I had high hopes for A Girl + A Guy. More than it being directed by Erik Matti and debuting as the first UPSTREAM original, it claimed to be a story of young adults finding their way in the world—but, if I may be honest, it piqued my interest because it promised to be a modern telling. Did that mean no classic (ahem, cliché) plotlines of a rich boy and a poor girl, an uptight young woman and a daring young man? Did it mean reality portrayed realistically?
And when the trailers and posters came out, I got my answer: A Girl + A Guy was going to be messy, confusing and Rated R-18. It sounded like a coming of age story I was actually familiar with.
Warning: The film leaves very little to the imagination, so don’t watch it with your parents. And if you’re uncomfortable talking about sex, then read something else.
A Girl + A Guy does as it promises: it takes you on a journey of a girl and a guy as they figure out their careers, their passions, how to be in love and how sex plays into all of it. Or to be more accurate, how sex sometimes fucks it all up. The film is confusing at the beginning, but lays itself out flawlessly: a meeting at a motel, a fight across the dinner table and breakups portrayed in murders—and yes, I am being literal.
What follows is the main storyline of Fiona (Alexa Miro) and Raf (Rob Gomez), as they entangle themselves (again, quite literally) with the likes of Gio, Diego, Carlo, Bea, Trixie, Mela, Kath and each other. Some of their relationships blossom in likely places, like school and online apps; others in inappropriate interactions, like fucking your boss or your uncle’s boss. Like I said, it’s messy.
But isn’t that what finding love and finding out what love isn’t really like? Haven’t we all fallen victim to accepting what’s handed for the simple fact that it was handed to us? Haven’t we all given in to a little temptation a little too early? And don’t we all know what kind of consequences those often lead to?
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Now that that’s out of the way, there are two things I need to talk about when it comes to A Girl + A Guy: love and sex. Let’s start with love.
Love, in the film, is portrayed quite casually. There are no long declarations of love that make you weak at the knees. Instead, what you get are moments of chemistry, connection and confrontation. You’re bombarded with ecstasy-laden scenes, mixed in with very real instances of doubt and loneliness. The characters take their turns fluttering and faltering and growing up.
The sex scenes, on the other hand, were not my cup of tea. I’m not what you’d call a conservative, but I was still a little put off by how directly the scenes were handled. There was zero regard for censorship—not that I wasn’t warned enough before the premiere. But there’s just something about looking into someone else’s sex life that makes me feel uneasy. After all, you’re taken on the journey with these characters, so much so that you feel like you know them, and then you see them getting down and dirty…it’s strange.
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Did A Girl + A Guy meet my expectations? Not really—I thought I knew what I was coming into, but watching the film made me realize you can’t prepare yourself for this kind of film. It is not what you would expect of Erik Matti, and it’s not your typical coming of age story.
They say it’s a story about the younger generation, a peek into their intimate lives behind closed doors, but these kinds of statements are limiting (and, in the wrong minds, can be misleading). It’s just a story about A Girl + A Guy. A messy and confusing story.
Catch A Girl + A Guy, starring Alexa Miro, Rob Gomez, Pau Benitez, Candice Ramos, Rosh Barman, Sarah Holmes, Carlo Tarobal, Emilio Francisco, Chloe Reyes, Roeder Camanag, Donna Cariaga, Marina Benipayo, Yvonne Evangelista and Shaun Salvador, available on UPSTREAM now.
Art Alexandra Lara