This isn’t a review of the movie “Saving Sally” in the 2016 Metro Manila Film Fest. There are a lot of those already online, most of them praising the movie’s cheeriness and animation. And to be honest, it is a movie worth watching.
But it’s also a movie that reminds us that it’s the little lies we tell ourselves that end up burying us, even if we use them to make our world a saner place. Spoilers ahead.
From the beginning, it’s obvious that Marty uses escapism in great quantities to make life bearable. Bullies and annoyances are transformed into monsters, robbing them of their humanity and making their actions easier to stomach. His world is colored with bright shades and dark hues, made larger than life by sheer dint of his imagination. It’s certainly a vivid one, but it leaves one to wonder: just how bad is it?
As for the titular Sally, it’s easy to understand her decisions. Stuck in an abusive home and overwhelmed with Stockholm syndrome, she tries to imagine how she would escape her hell. Ironically, her first choice would have perpetuated the cycle of misery that she found herself in if her pregnancy test had a positive result. Abandoned herself at birth to adoptive, puritannical parents, she would have had to leave the baby behind – or become another unprepared single mother. Her attempts to normalize the abuse and depression that she feels only deepen the sense of shock for the viewer. Save yourself! is what people cry out – but her reply of Save me! is even more distressing.
It is, however, the depression that hits the hardest in Saving Sally. Whether it’s Sally’s attempt at testing flight packs or the little lies that Marty tells her as he passes notes from Nick to keep her spirits up, the movie has a reminder at every twist and turn: for all the color you paint a world in, the little shards will still be there.
Personally, I’m glad that it ends on a good note. I’m glad that Sally lives to escape her family and start a relationship – at last – with Marty. I’m glad that they finally get together.
Because I know of Sallys who are still waiting for their Marty to save them, with no one to tell them to save themselves.