In a sea of rom-coms that fill our recommendation pages, cross-cultural relationships can often pop up, be it with likes of My Big Fat Greek Wedding or Maid in Manhattan. But in the Filipino film scene, it might as well be considered a rare gem. The trending To Russia With Love, however, has stepped up to do the job.
The Gerald Anderson-leading flick finds the actor with a new love interest beyond the usual love teams–or even beyond the country’s borders. With its sustained spot in Netflix’s top movies, is it worth a watch? Read on for the essential info.
Everything You Need to Know About “To Russia With Love”
An installment to the European-set cinematic universe of Filipino director Veronica Velasco (A Faraway Land, Nuuk, Will You Marry?, Through Night and Day), the filmmaker this time takes on the landscapes of Russia and the heart of the Kremlin.
In the transnational rom-com, Gerald Anderson plays Dennis, the son of a farm owner and restaurateur in Dipolog City, where an attraction sparks between him and Russian tourist Oksana (Elena Kozlova) as he toured her around the Zamboaga Del Norte capital.
As his attempt of a sweet surprise, Dennis flies to her homeland in Moscow. But their happily-ever-after isn’t that easy to get, when he meets Oksana’s strict and stern rich father who teaches him the ropes of hardened Russian living.
Rom-com and acting regular Gerald Anderson takes the role of pining Filipino man Dennis. While the actor dabbles in the occasional gritty role like in critically acclaimed On the Job, Gerald is also known to pop up for a romantic rendezvous every now and then, including films My Perfect You (with Pia Wurtzbach), Between Maybes (with real-life beau Julia Barretto), and Always Be My Maybe (with Arci Muñoz).
While there are a number of Filipino romances backdropped by international lands, To Russia With Love takes a unique spin with a foreign love interest in the main role. Playing the Russian paramour of Gerald’s character is Manila-based Siberian model Elena Kozlova, who makes her acting debut in the film. Talking to Preview, the new star said that she got the job after being tagged by her friend on a Facebook scouting post!
Rounding up the cross-cultural cast are Scott Alexander Young (who previously starred in Netflix production Shadow and Bone), Kakai Bautista, Simon Szabó, Isay Alvarez, Malou Crisologo, and more.
What Netizens Are Saying
Certain viewers flocked to Twitter to hail the sweet new tandem of Gerald and Elena, coupled by its traditional rom-com aspects. Despite a portfion of the film being set in Russia, users also commended the Philippine landscapes and cultural points featured, such as those of Dipolog City.
While others asked for a potential sequel, some were quick to note about Russian stereotypes portrayed in the film, too. A lingering question also hangs in the air once the credits rolled in–what did the ending mean?
What the Critics Are Saying
In a mix of lukewarm critical reviews, commentators weren’t keen on tropes and stereotypes that filled the film’s arc. The Daily Tribune and ABS-CBN, for instance, claim that the movie’s “interesting” and “unexpected” part was during Dennis’ hand-to-hand combat with a realistic bear.
However, other critics took notice of how the film grappled with cultural boundaries in romantic relationships and what lies beyond that. “As predictable as Biboy Calleja’s script for the film seems, some good stuff here that still deserves commendation,” Lionheart.TV writes. “The film showed that the barrier that needs to [be] torn down is not solely cultural but also internal, emotional issues.”
Watch the trailer for “To Russia With Love” below:
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