Film Review: What I Love The Most

Not a lot happens in What I Love The Most. This wouldn’t be a problem if the characters were intriguing enough to compensate for the lack of plot. Sadly, they are not. The result is a film that becomes increasingly frustrating to watch.

María, from Buenos Aires, takes a trip to visit her friend Pilar. Both girls are at a point in their lives where they are not sure what they want, so try to enjoy their holiday before getting back to reality…

Although both María and Pilar are believable enough characters, there is nothing remarkable about either of them. This would not be a problem if the plot weren’t so meagre. Without a strong or coherent narrative, at least one of the characters needs a spark to them in order to maintain interest. Unfortunately, What I Love The Most does not provide this.

Instead, what is offered are interactions between the two girls themselves, as well as with other minor characters. The initial sequence, where the girls are chatting as they look out at sea, provides some insight into the two protagonists. The film, however, goes downhill from here by not revealing anything too engrossing about them. This is compounded by the style with which What I Love The Most has been shot.

Director Delfina Castagnino uses numerous long and wide-angle shots, and frequently films from behind the characters, often obscured by branches. This gives the viewer a voyeuristic point of view; it feels as if we are encroaching on private conversations. This works well in creating the feeling that these are just snapshots of conversations. However, the duration of the shots are another matter. Whilst at first the very long takes allow viewers to study the body language of the girls, the frequency of letting the camera roll long after conversation and interaction has ceased grows tired quickly. You would be forgiven for expecting something else to occur in at least one of these long scenes, but sadly nothing ever does.

By the conclusion of What I Love The Most, the sheer frustration at these elongated takes is almost overwhelming. Castagnino clearly hoped to exhibit some artistic prowess with this debut. With the copious shots barren of either dialogue or any real movement, What I Love The Most is sedentary to the point of sedation.

What I Love The Most is being screened at the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival in October 2010.

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