By: Godfreyna Canja
With the seemingly infinite selection of films and tv shows that Netflix gives us, sometimes we still find ourselves staring at our selection panel all day, undecided on the next film to watch. Luckily, Netflix doesn’t tire of constantly making new films. Just recently the number one streaming platform released a Filipino film entitled Alter Me. Yep, you heard it right! Another Filipino creation has made its way to Netflix!
Alter Me features an interesting take on building connections where we see two complete opposites meet in the “alter world” and build a connection, but will that connection last even in the real world? Find out whether or not Alter Me is a must watch in our High Five review! Tread carefully as this review contains minor spoilers!
The Alter World
“Alter” is a fictional social media platform where people can go wild, making it different from “normal social media.” Basically, anyone can become a more daring version of themselves on Alter and let loose from all the stress and drama of their everyday lives. Alter also lets users “book” or pay someone in the platform to spend the night with.
The fictional world of Alter is a clear reflection of the current social media and online dating landscape. In real life, “alter” refers to anonymous accounts that are separate from a person’s primary account. This means that people can post whatever they want on their alter accounts without fear of being judged. In a more metaphorical sense, the movie shows us how we hide certain things about ourselves to be free from judgement, or how we change ourselves to be more interesting. It reflects a lot about our online lives and how our online selves enhance or hinder our relationships with ourselves and with others.
As RC Delos Reyes, the director of Alter Me, aptly put it, “When people watch the movie, I hope they don’t just see alter, or Alter Me as an alternate universe to fulfill your desires or outlet for release, but most importantly they realize that before you are able to connect to the world, you have to be able to connect with yourself.”
Uno (Enchong Dee) and Aimee (Jasmine Curtis-Smith) have a sort of character dynamic that you can’t help but root for, while fully expecting that it may not end up as good as you want it to be for both characters. Uno is someone that craves love, which ironically, we wouldn’t expect because of the nature of his work as an escort. He would be someone’s companion for only a night or two just to make ends meet, yet he is someone who longs for a longer more meaningful connection. Aimee on the other hand refuses to trust anyone because she is so terrified of caring and loving anyone again. Aimee pushes people away from her while Uno clings to meaning and romance.
I think Aimee’s character is relatable to a lot of people – a jaded woman who has gone through many heartbreaks, so she just shuts herself off from anyone to protect herself from getting hurt again. I liked how Aimee’s character was realistically written and portrayed on screen – it wasn’t exactly dramatic or tragic, but her pain and the rejection she portrayed felt real and human.
Uno, on the other hand, is a hopeless romantic. Similar to Aimee, Uno has had his fair share of heartbreaks and has been constantly rejected for being “just a one-night stand.” He despairs and cries because of a broken heart, but still he never loses hope to find his true love. What is more interesting is how he prefers a real relationship over one-night stands despite his profession. I loved how Uno was written as a complex character and kind to a fault. Despite getting himself hurt plenty of times, he does not shy away from another chance at love, and the way he helped Aimee open up again also shows how he cares about Aimee a lot.
The film was undoubtedly a success and a huge part of it was because of the impeccable casting. Enchong Dee and Jasmine Curtis-Smith had an on-screen chemistry that just clicked.
Jasmine herself felt like Aimee’s journey and her own experiences were similar. “I’ve been there before, like Aimee wanting to be that type of Aimee again before she was hurt and pushed people away. I wanted to be like her again, bring it back and make it better. I know that feeling and I am that Aimee now. I have surpassed the ‘Aimee’ or ‘Jasmine’ that I didn’t like and now I’m there, I am that ‘Jasmine’ that I liked before, and I’m loving it even better now,” she shared.
With the compatibility between Jasmine’s on-screen character and real life experiences, it’s no wonder that she portrayed the character to a tee.
Like many people, I’m a fan of romantic comedies. Who doesn’t want to feel that light “kilig” with a likeable and relatable love team? But with the sheer volume of romcom films, it can get pretty clichéd and repetitive. Alter Me escapes this pitfall by being a story that explores deeper meanings of connection, love and relationships. And while it still has the typical tropes and trappings of romcoms, the film delivers it differently. More than just about finding your true love, the film delved into loving yourself and understanding yourself and what you really wish for.
It also explored the process of healing, which I believe is relevant right now. With the situation we’re in where we can’t be with the people we care about, true connections and feelings matter even more. With the distance between us and our loved ones, we also find time to reflect on ourselves, forgive ourselves and figure out what we truly desire. It is a different take on romcoms and I’d say a relevant premise especially in these times.
Who isn’t a sucker for a happy ending, right? However, Alter Me’s ending wasn’t exactly a typical “happy ending.” I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending for everyone so I won’t go into detail, but the last scenes of the film wrap everything up so neatly that you couldn’t ask for anything more. It mainly talked about self-love and I believe it was a wonderful ending for both of the characters that needed that closure.
Overall, the film was entertaining in many ways. It will definitely make you laugh, but it can also hurt you in unexpected ways. The film’s take on love and connection is such an important message that we need right now. This, once again, proves how much we need films and how they aren’t just a form of entertainment.
As director RC Delos Reyes shared, “My contribution to the industry I belong in is doing what I’m supposed to do, and in my case that is filmmaking. I have to make films and I have to create stories, because one film that I make is not just a job for me or the actors. It’s a job for those who are waiting or the next gig or project, the utility workers, the film crew, it’s a job for many. That is why I keep making films because it contributes to more than just entertainment, it contributes to the lives of other people.”
With that said, Alter Me gets a 3 out of 5 waves and is definitely a must-watch unconventional romantic comedy!