August 28, 2019 – Diane Gundaya
A lot of eyebrows twitched, eyes rolled, and mouths opened when it was first announced that Kathryn Bernardo is returning to the big screen without her original leading man and real-life boyfriend, Daniel Padilla (who happened to be her one and only partner in films, teleseryes and etc. ever since 2011).
Kathryn has now teamed up with the well-loved Kapuso artist, Alden Richards, whom we probably all know from the most sought Eat Bulaga teamup that is AlDub (Alden and Yaya Dub).
Even I, when I first heard about the pairing, felt quite iffy about it. Yet, a part of me was somewhat interested about the outcome and how Direk Cathy Garcia-Molina would be able to put these two different worlds together and make it work.
Joy Fabregas (Kathryn Bernardo), a nursing graduate in the Philippines, works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong. Acting as the breadwinner of her family, Joy aspires to move to Canada to fulfill her dream of making use of her degree. Part of her plans is also to be able to petition her father and siblings in order for them to live together in the same country.
She tries to juggle various jobs from morning until midnight just to earn money to go to Canada. For Joy, Hong Kong is just a stopover—a stepping stone, a place to earn but not live.
With the help of some of her Filipino friends in Hong Kong, Joy was able to work at a bar as a side hustle. This is where she meets Ethan (Alden Richards), a Filipino bartender. Ethan is quite known for his charm and his power to attract women easily. Knowing that Joy is new, Ethan tries to catch her attention by offering her a welcome drink. Joy, uninterested, quickly turned Ethan down. However, it did not stop there.
At first, it may seem like the usual rom-com—the usual boy meets girl drama. But as you go through the whole film, you will see that this is beyond the typical.
The film depicted numerous scenarios and realities about the lives of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). It showed how they cope with their sadness and longing, trying to remind themselves that all the hard work they are doing is for the betterment of the people they left; the sudden jolt of happiness when they encounter kababayans who share the same fate as them; the anxious heart and sweaty palms of the new ones who were left with no choice but to leave the country to be able to provide for their families; the sparkle in their eyes and faint smiles when they see how ecstatic their families are when they finally receive the balikbayan boxes that they wrapped and packed all by themselves. The list goes on.
I greatly appreciate how they were able to delve into the topic of OFWs and the issue on global diaspora. To be honest, it somehow reminded me of “Sunday Beauty Queen,” a docu-film featuring real-life Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong and how they usually spend their Sundays there.
Aside from the struggles for survival, the film also shows the blossoming of Joy and how she managed to make choices and decisions for herself. Kathryn Bernardo, remarkably, was able to give a great performance. Her portrayal was sincere and genuine, making us feel how hard it is to be put in the same position as hers. To be honest, this is her best one so far.
Moreover, this film also brought out the best in Alden Richards. We all know that he has a charming aura which made tons of people fall in love with him during the AlDub days. But seeing Alden on the big screen, playing the role of Ethan, made me realize that this man really has a lot of potential. Plus, he also looks better now! (I can still recall how dozens of people inside the theater shriek whenever he smiles and throws a pick-up line).
Also, special mention to Joy and Ethan’s friends who made the whole film way better through their amusing antics and hilarious banters.
Kakai Bautista, playing the role of Sally Daraga and Lovely Abella as Gina Marikit are my favorites! I love how they embodied Pinays who are always smiling amidst the struggles and still manage to make other people feel good even if they are also fighting their own demons inside. On the other hand, Joross Gamboa as Jhim, one of Ethan’s best friends, also stole the spotlight by throwing the wittiest lines and entertaining shades. The chemistry of the ensemble was solid, making them effective and relatable.
Overall, “Hello, Love, Goodbye” is a good film. Yes, it is not perfect but it has a lot to say that needs to be heard. It tackles a lot of factors and issues one can really relate to—especially Filipinos. The film depicts how hard life can be for someone who is still in the journey of finding oneself. They say that every journey starts with hello and ends with goodbye. And this journey made us see the beauty of beginnings and the necessity of ends.
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