The Commitment (Kasal) takes us immediately at the height of the incident. Paolo (Oliver Aquino) gets caught cheating by his partner, Sherwin (Arnold Reyes) and we are left to pick up the pieces alongside them. Throughout the film, we see them working towards rekindling their relationship and moving past this setback. However, following these events riddled with heavy drama and closeups situates us not in a place of intimacy, but of anxiety.
Paolo and Sherwin have disagreements on marriage due to the lack of marital rights provided for same-sex couples. They quarrel over the reservation of their relationship from the public; Sherwin insists on posing as friends in certain settings due to the discrimination and expectations of his career as a lawyer as well as his family, where he remains closeted. Their problems reflect the present reality of many couples having to conform and cope with the conservative culture of the Philippine society. Their sustained relationship then provides pushback; that committing to each other despite the presence of these societal pressures would prove that these pressing issues are not really a hindrance in their relationship. That their love for each other would be enough for them to stay together despite these hurdles.
However, the film portrayed these issues with no proper resolutions. Paolo and Sherwin never really meet in the middle. We are always caught up in between them. Even when they do have moments of intimacy and closure, a kind of distance is always present; a distance that the film never really closes in order to emphasize the societal issues affecting their relationship.
It showcases the reality of the plight of the LGBTQ+ community, but a reality that allows no hope for queer love. Instead, it emphasizes that this commitment is something always doomed for failure due to the issues that will always plague queer relationships. I can’t help comparing this to other available LGBT films such as Billie and Emma and The Boy Foretold by the Stars which, through lighthearted narratives, are able to tackle these same issues while also allowing hope for the community. Hope to find and succeed in love despite the presence of these woes.
The Commitment is streaming on MOOV.