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Hello, Love, Goodbye [movie reaction]

[Note: This blog post is quite late and the hype for this movie has died down. This movie review has been sitting on my drafts for a while. I've been quite busy these past few months because I was working on my graduate thesis. My thesis is finished and submitted, so now I have more time to focus on this blog and write.]

Hello, Love, Goodbye is a Filipino movie starring Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards, produced by Star Cinema and directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina. It was shown in theaters around August 2019.  I have read a lot of positive reviews for this movie, and it's also a cinema blockbuster that earned millions when it was showing. I was curious and wanted to see if it was worth the hype. I was not disappointed!

This is the first time that stars from the two top rival TV networks in the Philippines (ABS-CBN and GMA) teamed up for a movie. Both Alden Richards and Kathryn Bernardo are halves of very popular “love teams” in the Philippine show business. Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza rose to fame with the famous Kalyeserye of Eat Bulaga in GMA. Kathryn is also often paired with Daniel Padilla. I like that both actors are branching out and also trying different on-screen partners. At first, I’m not really sure of the ‘chemistry’ between Alden and Kathryn until I saw the movie.

The story is about Joy (Kathryn), a family breadwinner with a blind father and two siblings to take care of. Though a Nursing graduate, she chose to work as a domestic helper in Hong Kong to support her family. She works for a family with a mother, a child with special needs, and the grandmother. When her boss’s finances were tight, she almost fires Joy from her job, but Joy insisted on staying and just take on other jobs. Though the problem is, in Hong Kong, domestic helpers can only work on that job and taking on other jobs is illegal and she could risk imprisonment when caught.

She secretly works for a bar with other Filipino employees, and on her first night on the job she runs in fear of police nearby. Here she meets Ethan (Alden), the bartender, a cute, happy-go-lucky playboy who teases her by buying her drinks. In an attempt to escape the roving policemen, she kisses Ethan. Though Ethan being a tease, he calls for Joy on the local radio station for OFWs. Suddenly, she finds herself the talk of the town, at least for her kababayans.

Joy and Ethan meet again, and start to get to know each other. Ethan gives off the vibe that he is only after women for sex and nothing else. As they get to know each other, Joy learns that Ethan also has his own problems with his family and a previous relationship.

As for Joy and Ethan’s story, it came off as natural. I’m so used to seeing Alden with Maine, Kathryn’s acting was also on point. There was an intense scene between Joy and Ethan that left most of the theatre crying. I admit that I also shed tears! While Alden is good my opinion is Kathryn's acting really carried the story. 

It is not only a love story, but about following your dreams and going with what your heart desires. I think a lot of people, especially Filipinos, can relate to the plight of both Joy and Ethan. Almost every Filipino family has someone who works as OFWs in other countries. There are many who may have had college educations, but work in lowly jobs to fend for their families back home. Filial piety and valuing family above all else is Filipino culture. Many slave hard in other countries to feed their families – but sometimes forget themselves and their own dreams in the process.

My favorite thing about the movie is the friendship and entertaining camaraderie between Joy, Ethan, and their friends. There's this one character speaking with an Ilonggo accent which was more entertaining/endearing than offensive. I think a lot of OFWs working in Hong Kong can relate to the Filipino culture shown in the movie. 

I found it corny at times, because I’m not really into these romance-type stories. I cringed when they were speaking their vows of undying love (in English, at that) and promising to return to each other. I thought this was a new role for Alden as a 'bad boy' but beneath the surface his character is a 'goody pakyutsie' similar to his previous roles. I really hope Alden plays something off the radar and really unexpected for him.

What I really like about the movie is that it's not just about love. One of its major themes is choice. The tragic story of Joy's parents exemplified bad choices both parties made that eventually destroyed their relationship. Joy, in the end, realized that she also has to think of herself first and made her own choices for herself, even if it means that she can't always be with Ethan. Anyway, my conclusion is Hello, Love, Goodbye is one of the better Filipino romance movies today, and it deserved all the accolades it got. 

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