REVIEW: ‘My Amanda’ Is a Sweet but Frustrating Tale of BFF Love

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My Amanda - But Why Tho

There comes a point in the Filipino Netflix Original romance My Amanda where you want to yell at the screen: “Just fuck already!” This story of love between two best friends is one we’ve seen many times before, but the chemistry between performers makes it a sweet and easy endeavor to watch. It can get frustrating though.

The film follows BFFs TJ (Piolo Pascual) and Amanda (Alessandra de Rossi) as they go through life and heartbreak. We watch them as they joke, flirt, relax, drive and party together. They seem to be made for each other. However, for some reason, they refuse to date or get romantically involved. “She’s like a sister to me,” says TJ a couple of times throughout the film.

Their relationship is close and warm. Amanda constantly jokes about how he desires her, and people that meet them are astonished when learning that they are not a couple. They have cute names for each other (Fuffy and Fream). Amanda is witty and flirty, while TJ is a handsome, sensitive, and muscular fellow who drives around in expensive cars. The performers (Pascual and de Rossi) have tremendous chemistry and their characters have many opportunities to kiss or have sex, but they just don’t. Neither of them seems to be able to find stable partners too, which makes their dynamic even more interesting. 

Alessandra de Rossi might not be a name familiar to Western audiences, but she’s an award-winning, highly prolific, and popular actress in the Philippines. My Amanda is her directorial feature debut (she also wrote the screenplay), and she’s quite successful in it, particularly with its teasing. Despite the by-the-numbers interactions and concept, the film will force you to want these two to finally kiss and get it all over with. 

The thing that makes this film stumble is believability. TJ and Amanda sleep in the same bed together and are even comfortable with a certain level of nudity. De Rossi wants you to understand that neither character is sexually attracted to the other. But, is it possible to have such a close relationship without intimacy? Are these interactions believable? Your level of enjoyment of this film might depend on your stance on platonic relationships and how much you can suspend disbelief. Otherwise, frustration might be too overbearing. 

Both Pascual and de Rossi are terrific as the leads. As unbelievable as certain aspects of their character’s relationship can be, they both portray authentic people who are emotionally supportive of each other, and whose interactions are fun and endearing. Without the chemistry between these two, the movie would’ve fallen apart fast. 

The movie also stumbles during its third act. Throughout the movie, we listen to TJ reciting some truly cheesy lines about love and care. These moments, that try to tease the consummation of his romance with Amanda, help telegraph a predictable bittersweet ending that has a final manipulative twist to try to tear your heartstrings. 

With the help of strong performances and an assured debut direction by Alessandra de Rossi, My Amanda entertains and creates food for thought; its heart is set in trying to convince you that profound friendships between man and woman are true and they do not have to end up in sex. The script and cheesy dialogue doesn’t manage to convince all the way, but there’s enough romance to satisfy fans of this genre.

My Amanda is now streaming on Netflix.

My Amanda
7/10

TL;DR

With the help of strong performances and an assured debut direction by Alessandra de Rossi, My Amanda entertains and creates food for thought; its heart is set in trying to convince you that profound friendships between man and woman are true and they do not have to end up in sex. The script and cheesy dialogue doesn’t manage to convince all the way, but there’s enough romance to satisfy fans of this genre.