‘Lakbay2Love’ is Light on Love

Lakbay2Love is in the shape of a romance, its main plot developments concerning the feelings between Lianne, JR, and Macky.

Lakbay2Love concerns Lianne (Solenn Heussaff), an independent videographer in a funk after a bad breakup with her boyfriend Macky (Kit Thompson). She is eventually convinced to do a story on cyclists and their efforts to preserve the environment. She meets forester JR (Dennis Trillo), and though Lianne has deep-seated issues regarding biking, she takes it up again for the sake of the story. And through this new hobby, Lianne finds things that help her move on from her pain. But at the same time, new drama enters her life in the form of a love triangle between Macky and JR.

Lakbay2Love is in the shape of a romance, its main plot developments concerning the feelings between Lianne, JR, and Macky. But it clearly has goals beyond the explication of the entanglements that complicate the lives of these characters. The movie is really about the love of cycling and by extension, the environment. The movie is using a romance as a vehicle for expressing its passion for this mode of transport, the love between the characters growing in scenes that take audience on a tour of the cycling scene of the country.

And it is ultimately the bike stuff that is the most compelling in this movie. The romance doesn't really work, and the film seems to make little effort to remedy that. The movie just doesn't seem to care much about who ends up with who, and never makes much of a case for either of the two main romantic possibilities. This is an interesting choice, but it's one that doesn't really benefit the movie in the long run. It just makes the movie feel a little undercooked, these various romantic ingredients never really coming together in any meaningful way.

Having said that, the cycling stuff is pretty neat. This is clearly where the film's true interests lie. The whole thing comes alive as it documents this one's person's entry into this vast new world of specialized rules, equipment, groups, routes and events. The movie seems to have just ridden along with real groups of cyclists, and it ably captures what it's like to enter this particular subculture. This stuff is pretty interesting, but it really doesn't benefit greatly from the added context of the movie's narrative. While it is easy to understand that the movie is trying to reach out to a wider audience, it really does feel like this should have just been a documentary.

As honorable as the film's intentions certainly are, it doesn't commit enough to being a narrative romantic film to make the venture truly worth it. Visually, it's all right, the movie benefiting greatly from the beautiful natural backdrops. But again, there is a disconnect between what the film is showing and the story it's trying to tell. Solenn Heussaff is pretty good in the lead role. The film works to her strengths, and though the character is a little underwritten, she does a good job of conveying her character's journey. Dennis Trillo and Kit Thompson have less to work with, but they're okay given that they're mostly playing options.

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Lakbay2Love is clearly a product of love, of people who are passionate about cycling in this country and believe it to be part of a greater solution to some of our problems. And when that's great, that love and passion don't translate in the movie's plot, which feels like an obligation, a compromise made in an attempt to make it more appealing to a wider audience. And there is nothing wrong with making this compromise, but the movie doesn't seem to care enough about these romantic elements to make them compelling. As compelling, at least, as the scenes that exhibit the film's real passions.

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Lakbay2Love
Romance

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