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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘I’m Ellenya L.’ (2019)

Maris Racal is Ellenya L, and she’s ready to show us all her sh*t. Here’s my full review of Boy2 Quizon’s ‘I’m Ellenya L.’

The film follows Ellenya Lakampati (Maris Racal), an aspiring vlogger who dreams of becoming a viral superstar online. In her bizzare attempts to reach this level of fame, an unfortunate incident happens to her which steers her to a wrong direction, and she’s quickly catapulted into infamy.

There’s a lot to like in this film. The comedic scenes definitely have some Bubble Gang influence to them, considering that the film’s director, Boy2 Quizon, comes from the show. The film also has a couple of original songs also reminiscent of Michael V’s Bubble Gang song parodies. There are lots of entertaining cameos throughout the film as well. The most notable one would be Sue Ramirez’s special participation as an alternate version of her real world self—an online vlogging superstar, who Ellenya L. deeply idolizes as she aspires to be like her.

I’ve seen Maris Racal in many different roles on both the big and small screen, but in this film, she gets to show off her comedic skills. Her portrayal of the titular Ellenya Lakampati is absolutely hilarious, and quite relatable to a certain extent. I’m pretty sure you know, or at least have seen a person like this, especially in this generation where social media has spread like wildfire.

Ellenya’s overly ambitious attempts to desperately achieve online fame may come off as cringey for some, but Racal excellently powers through her character’s flaws with a ton of charm. I don’t really see any other actress pulling off this character as great as Maris Racal did, especially at the film’s hilarious climax where things get literally messy. I don’t think anyone else from her acting peers could’ve done what she did in that scene, so hats off to her.

Inigo Pascual is probably the weakest performer here, he doesn’t really get up to the level of his co-actors. His character mostly comes off as mean-spirited and one-dimensional. Nova Villa is Ellenya’s skeptical grandmother, and while she’s a bit of a buzzkill when it comes to Ellenya’s dreams, she still loves her dearly. As she says in the film, “di ka bibida kung walang kokontra“. Gio Alvarez gets to show off his singing skills here, which is a perfect fit as he portrays Ellenya’s supportive father. Pat Sugui and Kat Galang are the film’s scene stealers, and all their scenes with Ellenya are hilarious.

Now, this film definitely isn’t flawless. The pacing of the first half could’ve been a bit faster, and it could’ve used a stronger jolt of comedy. Also, the resolution of the film’s conflict feels a bit rushed. The film could’ve tackled the story of the social media generation just a bit deeper. It felt like they took the easy way out, instead of fleshing out the whole situation for it to have a bigger impact on the audience’s mind. It works fine for how it all ends, but there would’ve been better ways to deal with the situation.

There are also many things I found absolutely unnecessary, like the cliché love story full of overused tropes, the infinite crankiness of Inigo Pascual’s character, or that pointless “revelation” by a supporting character at the end. Some of the attempts at comedy also feel a bit outdated, but I still enjoyed the film nonetheless. I just thought that they really could’ve had an even better film without these things.

I’m Ellenya L. has its fair share of highs and lows. It never makes a clear stand on whether it’s for or against the shallowness of the “vlogging” culture, and it doesn’t tackle this topic deeply. It’s still a hilarious film, and when all the sh*t starts spreading, it never stops. Maris Racal’s performance alone makes it worth watching, and Ellenya L. may very well be a new icon of the social media age.

My Rating: 7/10

Here’s the full trailer for ‘I’m Ellenya L.”:

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