Leonor Will Never Die (2022)

Leonor Will Never Die (2022)

A thrillingly original meta-comedy-drama with genuine heart underneath

The Very Best

8.2

Movie

Philippines, United States of America
English, Tagalog
Action, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
2022
FEMALE DIRECTOR, MARTIKA RAMIREZ ESCOBAR
Alemberg Ang, Allan Bautista, Anthony Falcon
99 min

TLDR

For the authentic Filipino experience, buy this film as a burned CD in a plastic bag.

What it's about

After a television accidentally falls on her head, former filmmaker Leonor finds herself transported into one of her unfinished action movie screenplays.

The take

At times looking and sounding like a real Filipino action film from 50 years ago, while painstakingly edited to juggle storylines across several realities, Leonor Will Never Die is worth seeing for its originality and ambition alone. Among so many other films that function as sanitized "love letters to cinema," this one bears the distinction of still feeling charmingly scrappy and improvised even with how meticulously it's crafted. It doesn't simply pine for a bygone era of movies, but it actively explores what purpose movies serve to us as individuals and as communities. Where it arrives with regard to healing and acceptance and bringing people together feels entirely earned, even if it might not always be easy to understand.

What stands out

What makes Leonor Will Never Die so interesting as an homage to classic action movies is that it never acts as a parody of the genre. The norm in movies seems to be that "nostalgia" can never be evoked without some sort of acknowledgement of how ridiculous older things used to be. But for the most part, Leonor uses its genre tropes without too much irony—actually integrating it into its storytelling to make a statement about how some things are just out of our control.

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