Truth Deficient

'When the Love is Gone' only gets worse in its endgame. There it disregards whatever trauma the characters went through to provide a shade of a happy ending.

The opening of When the Love is Gone paints a picture of a happy family. Emman (Gabby Concepcion) is having breakfast with his wife Audrey (Alice Dixson) and daughter Jenny (Andi Eigenmann). They're all smiles at the table, laughing and telling each other that they love each other. And it all feels terribly false. The film intends this scene to show audiences what's being lost as the tendrils of adultery ensnare the primary characters, but right from the very beginning, the film is unable to find any truth in its exploits.

This same scene plants the seed of discord, mainly in Audrey asking her husband if it's okay for her to start baking professionally. He consents, happy to have his wife make money from her hobby. But then the next scenes depict Emman's growing unhappiness with how much time Audrey is spending on her new business. On her part, Audrey doesn't seem happy with how much she's working as well, but she doesn't do anything about it. The film strangely pins the blame almost entirely on Audrey in these early scenes, making it out as if her new business was the whole cause of what would soon happen.

While on vacation, Emman meets Cassie (Cristine Reyes), who is heartbroken over discovering that her husband is gay and has been cheating on her. The pair promptly falls in love and begin a passionate affair. It doesn't take very long for Audrey and Jenny to find out, and they react accordingly. Jenny acts out by getting drunk one night. This is apparently enough for Audrey to propose something extraordinary to Emman: he's to split time between his family and his mistress, making sure that he puts up an act in front of his daughter.

And this is all just nonsense. The relationships don't make any sense, and the people do not act like real human beings. The women seem like automations programmed to spew catty lines at each other in pursuit of a man who lacks any real agency as a character. The film almost makes Emman out to be a victim, subject to the mercurial whims of the crazy women that surround him. And for some reason, despite his generally awful behavior, these women still yearn for his company.

This doesn't even get into the two most awful parts of this movie. One involves a major twist that is simultaneously unthinkable and completely predictable. The other involves Cassie's ex, Yuri (Jake Cuenca), who despite being gay expects Cassie to stick with him. His jealousy over Cassie’s relationship with Emman is constantly baffling. The character seems to exist to give the story a simple villain, providing the film with an easy exit from its emotional states, and another target for Cassie’s cattiness. Again, nothing about this film feels remotely natural, every bit of it contrived and lacking in any sort of humanity. The actors may as well be replaced with actual caricatures.

When the Love is Gone only gets worse in its endgame. There it disregards whatever trauma the characters went through to provide a shade of a happy ending. No one really seems to have paid a price for having tragedy enter their lives, with everyone simply operating as if nothing really happened. And that really sums it up. Nothing really happened. The whole thing was just an exercise in creating scenes where women yell at each other and generally behave badly. It is toxic and hateful and generally just terrible.

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