by: Meanne M. Mijares
“Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction,
and many enter through it. “ (Matthew 7:13)
Directed by Veronica Velasco
Written by Jinky Laurel
Story by Erwin Blanco
Starring Paolo Contis as Nico Mendoza
Yen Santos as Mahjoy Garðalið
Hans Tórgarð as Sigmund Garðalið
Production company MavX Productions
Release date August 19, 2021 (Netflix)
The Netflix description immediately got my attention:
In the Faroe Islands, a married woman meets a reporter filming a documentary on overseas Filipino workers in Danish territory, which soon develops into a love story full of twists and turns.
A Faraway Land opens with a picturesque view of the Faroe Islands. The mountains, the water, the vastness of the fields are indeed a beautiful sight to behold. We also get an overview of Mahjoy’s life and the lives of various Filipinos living in Faroe. There are hints all over the film that she and Filipinas like her aren’t enjoying marital bliss.
That is probably why Mahjoy and her friends act nonchalantly on other people when they are affectionate with their husbands or show affection one way or another. Nico, the documentary reporter is the complete opposite of everything Mahjoy has seen in her whole life. He’s fun, understanding and they seem compatible.
The heart of the film, are Mahjoy and Faroe Islands. She is delightful to watch and it’s amazing how a dedicated worker she is. Her life is challenging, but she does all she can to keep on with a cheery smile on her face. Yen Santos must be credited for giving vibrancy to a character that seems like a ray of sunshine.
As the film progresses, we get a sad look into Mahjoy’s life. It seems like she’s not in love with her husband, Sigmund, and the age difference seems to be a lot. She keeps on saying she has no choice at all. The film depicts the life of overseas Filipino workers in a compassionate and sweet light, narrating their joys, woes, dreams, hardships and aspirations. It tugs right at the heartstrings, I must say.
The film addresses and acknowledges the global pandemic. It makes the viewer wonder how Nico was allowed to enter the island. There’s also a scene of Nico showing a corona test from his phone and honestly, I find it a bit too much not to mention that he also collapsed. There are also some scenes that I find unnecessary irrelevant just to reach the film’s total running time.
The film’s dubbing is giving me problems. There are huge proportions of the movie that are inaudible most especially in major scenes. It feels some of their dialogues were dubbed and some, they just winged it from the shooting location.
It is clear in the film that cheating on your spouse is not good at all. Regardless of what No matter how good or bad the marriage may be, leaving your spouse and pursuing another relationship will lead you nowhere . Nico’s claim that Mahjoy is definitely in love with him causes him to feel entitled.
I observed that A Faraway Land got confused with what it wanted to achieve in the second half of the film. It starts out cool and fun but then turns into something that is causing tension. It’s difficult to watch and even amplified with the upsetting dubbing, it loses its magic streak altogether. Add to that, Nico’s warranted behavior with a very much married Mahjoy, which I find it very uneasy.
A Faraway Land is a slow -paced dramatic film. The dubbing issues are uncontrolled and there are scenes that I find redundant. It’s also sad to see when a loving character becomes strange at the end.
That being said, when a guy tells you that he is deeply or madly in love with you after a week of meeting you each other, don’t sashay. I beg you, to run away.
The film was sweet from the beginning but later on takes a long way round through in its second part.
Overall, I give the film a rating of 3.5 stars.