A Faraway Land is a 2020 drama film starring directed by Veronica B. Velasco and starring Paolo Contis and Yen Santos in pivotal roles.
The Netflix description reads:
In the Faroe Islands, a married woman meets a reporter filming a documentary on overseas Filipino workers, which soon sparks a complicated love story.
– A Faraway Land review does not contain spoilers –
A Faraway Land starts with gorgeous views of the Faroe Islands. And when I say gorgeous, it’s breathtakingly beautiful. The mountains, the water, the expanse of the fields – beautiful. We also get an overview of Mahjoy’s life and the lives of various Filipinos in Faroe. There are hints everywhere that she and most like her aren’t in happy marriages.
That is probably why Mahjoy and her friends shit on other people when they are affectionate with their husbands or show affection in any way. Enter Nico, the easy-going documentary reporter. He’s the complete opposite of everything she has seen in her life. He’s fun, understanding and they seem to vibe well. Well, they only just met, but you know.
The heart of A Faraway Land, or hearts, I should say, are Mahjoy and Faroe Islands. Mahjoy is a joy to watch and it’s shocking how hardworking she is. Her life isn’t easy, but she does all she can to sustain and she does it with a smile on her face. Her character is absolutely a ray of sunshine and her smile is to die for. I want to give Yen Santos credit for creating a character that seems so warm and loveable.
Anyway, as A Faraway Land continues, we get a sad look into Mahjoy’s life. It seems like she’s not in love with her husband, Sigmund, and the age difference seems to be a lot. The movie shows the life of overseas Filipino workers in a compassionate and sweet light, their joys, sorrows, dreams, hardships and aspirations. It touches your heart.
A Faraway Land also addresses the COVID situation in the world. The movie takes place in the midst of the pandemic and that makes me wonder how Nico was allowed to enter the island. There’s also a plot point of a corona test and stuff that was a bit much. And, Nico faints a little too much. There are also some plot points that are just so damn unnecessary and only pad the runtime.
I have one big, huge problem with A Faraway Land and that is the dubbing. There are large chunks of the movie where you won’t be able to hear anything. It feels some of their dialogues were dubbed and some, they just winged it from the shooting location. It’s so surreal to watch.
One more point, cheating on your spouse is not romantic. Regardless of what your marriage is, good or bad, leave your spouse and then pursue another relationship. Nico’s claim that Mahjoy is definitely in love with him reeks entitlement.
I think A Faraway Land got a little confused with what it wanted to do with its film in the second half of the film. It starts out cute and fun but then turns into something very odd. It’s awkward to watch and doubled with the horrible dubbing, it loses its charm soon. Add to that, Nico’s entitled behaviour with a married Mahjoy, it’s just uncomfortable.
Summing up: A Faraway Land
A Faraway Land is a slow drama film. The dubbing issues are rampant and there are moments that are unnecessary and don’t add anything to the runtime. It’s sad when a sweet character becomes creepy in the end. If you’re planning on giving this a shot, watch it for Yen Santos, she’s great.
That being said, when a guy tells you that they are in love with you after a week of knowing each other, run for the hills.
A Faraway Land is streaming on Netflix.