Meanne M. Mijares
“Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.”
– Pope John Paul II, Love and Responsibility
Kathryn Bernardo as Joy
Alden Richards as Ethan
Jameson Blake as Edward
Maymay Entrata as Mary Dale
Kakai Bautista as Sally
Joross Gamboa as Jhim
Lovely Abella as Gina
Jeffrey Tam as Carlo
Maxine Medina as Tanya
Jerome Ponce as JM
Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan as Lita
William Lorenzo as Celso
Lito Pimentel as Mario
Director Cathy Garcia-Molina
Screenplay Carmi S. Raymundo and Cathy Garcia-Molina
Distributed by Star Cinema
I describe it as a heartwarming story that pays tribute to our Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) kababayans and the featured characters here are millennial.
Diligent and selfless Joy works as a Hong Kong domestic helper (DH). To add up to her earnings, she also actively involved in her buy-and-sell business every Sunday at the Central, and even takes on a second job at night as a waitress. She hustles day in and out just to provide for her family back in the Philippines.
She needs funds not only to send back home, but also to finance her dream of flying off to Canada to practice nursing, her original course.
When she met and fell in love with free-spirited Ethan, an enigmatic bartender, she was faced with a dilemma whether to stay for love, or leave to follow her dreams of a much better life and future for her family. As a bartender, Ethan prepares drinks and juggles women with hardly any regard for making deeper connections.
Because of her intense dedication to her family, she becomes a miserable person solely focused on fulfilling her dreams of putting her family back together again. Even if she was in the company of her eccentric fellow DH friends, Joy barely smiled as a no-nonsense workaholic where she valued every second of the day was spent in the quest of earning her keep.
Alden as Ethan was actually deglamorized in such a way he did not exactly look like the Alden of Aldub fame. Even then, though, the camera adores his face to the point that there was hardly any angle to him no matter how simple his clothes look or how desolate his hair is. Though unexpected, the team-up delivered with a rom-com that has just the right slice of life on top. Kathryn’s serious side is just the right foil to Alden’s cheeky behavior, and this push and pull makes for great banter and participating discourse.
Because Kathryn was always in serious heavy drama mode practically all throughout the film, it was up to Alden to stir up the romance part of the reckoning. This movie was actually more of a vehicle for Alden to showcase his flexibility in acting to a new set of Kapamilya supporters who were not quite too familiar with him and his body of work before. He was really the one who lightened up the mood of the heavy scenes with his comic jaunts. On the other end, he was also very in force in those touching heavy dramatic scenes with his family, as well as those scenes where Ethan was trying to convince Joy to stay with him in Hong Kong.
This movie has a beautiful cinematography, indeed! As with other Filipino rom-coms, the romantic musical soundtrack also set the proper mood of their scenes. Director Cathy Garcia-Molina is really a certified expert on how to produce romantic quivers and trembles between her actors. No matter how tawdry the lines may seem on paper, when you hear them spoken in the actual scene, they work so marvelously!
The title of the film itself already pretty much gave us an essence of the story, but we keep on to enjoy the chemistry of Kathryn and Alden as a new love team, as well as to find out what Joy’s final decision was going to be concerning her dilemma.
The story also brought to life the various real problems that our OFWs experience in Hong Kong, especially with regards to sacrificing family unity and jeopardizing illegal activities for their dreams of acquiring material wealth. This is a movie that tells us that there are tough choices we need to make, and these choices need to be respected in the name of love.
Hello, Love, Goodbye didn’t have any scene that was unnecessary or unwarranted. As I write this review, I see myself remembering the standout scenes and how each one made me feel. It’s truly a blessing when a film has that effect on its viewers, I must say.
This film made me feel a gamut of emotions that after watching it, I find it quite hard to process my own feelings. In fact, I tried to recall my favorite scenes—and there are too many to count!
It reminds me of another great film about OFWs that came out two decades ago—Anak, which starred Vilma Santos, Carlo Aquino and Claudine Barretto. Like Anak, Hello, Love, Goodbye depicts the plight of our Filipino migrant workers—the troubles they encounter, the sadness of being away from family, the sacrifices they have to make to be able to give their families back home a better life, and the anxiety it puts on their families. This film is lighter focusing more on the love blossoming between Joy and Ethan.
Also, the story was brilliant. There are so many quotable quotes from this movie! Here are some that I would like to share:
“And for a while, time just stops.”
“Hindi kita gusto, eh. I love you.”
“Pero gusto kita, eh. So sorry, I don’t love you.”
“Hindi pwede magkaroon ng ‘us’. May hinahabol pa akong future para sa pamilya ko.”
“Kung mahal mo ako, bakit hindi ako yung piliin mo, Joy?”
“Kung mahal mo ako, bakit pinapapili mo ako?”
To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised at the unique chemistry between Kathryn and Alden. I already saw it in the film’s trailer, but seeing the entire film made me conclude that they are indeed proof that two people don’t actually have to be in a relationship to create that special kind of magic onscreen! Unexpectedly, the team-up delivered with a rom-com that has just the right slice of life on top. Kathryn’s serious side is just the right foil to Alden’s cheeky demeanor, and this push and pull makes for great banter and engaging dialogue.
This film makes viewers see Kathryn in a new light. She proves yet again that she is a credible and competent actress. Kathryn can truly shine on her own. She was believable and real as Joy. She didn’t just portray Joy. She WAS Joy. She will always be remembered as Joy.
Alden is a good actor who takes his work very seriously. He proves that yet again in this movie. I love how he can so gracefully switch between comedy and drama. Like Kathryn, he completely personified his role as Ethan. His acting was subtle. I could feel his every emotion just by watching him—his playful interactions with Joy, how his love for Joy grew, his gnawing frustration at the things he could do nothing about, his patience every time things didn’t go his way. The two actors are known for their lighthearted romances, but they handled this one with such a degree of maturity and dedication, and it matches them very well.
The film Hello Love Goodbye examines the trials and sacrifices of Overseas Filipino Workers in foreign lands. It shows how responsibilities and commitments can bring two people together, but it can also drive them apart. What I love in this movie is that no one overacted here. It made it so easy for the viewers to just follow the story without disruptions. It is also very touching and inspiring as well.
The film also casts light on many things you might not expect to learn from a rom-com. Here are life lessons that are worth sharing:
There’s something more about Hong Kong
In between the shiny glass and steel beams and fascinating skyscrapers, is a Hong Kong scene that’s very much alive, filled with pockets of people hard at work carrying the city’s burden on their shoulders. It’s not as classy or as lustrous, but this humane side of Hong Kong shows the city from a whole new standpoint.
The saying When in Rome, do as the Romans do apply here.
In the film, we see Filipinos adjusting to a way of life that’s very different from what they’re used to back home. For most Filipino staff and domestic helpers, it means learning a new language just to communicate and getting breaks only on Sundays. They also have to learn the names of new streets and plot a course of the landscape of an unknown city. It also adds a certain degree of maturity in their character development.
The OFWs struggles are real!
There are no words to properly capture how difficult it really is to be an OFW, and a domestic helper in this film to be clear. Joy, along with her fellow Filipino workers, often gets into fights with her foreign employers and is only permitted breaks on Sundays. She’s not allowed to do freelancing work outside of being a domestic helper and she has been separated from her family for years, without any tinge of appreciation and understanding given in exchange for all the sacrifices she has made just to provide for them.
There are some people worth the risk.
You meet someone in your life and you’ve given it all only to get your heart broken and battered. It only makes sense for you to be fearful of giving love another shot, going as far as to say you’ll never fall in love again, but then all of a sudden you meet someone totally fascinating and captivating and for a moment, you consider giving them a chance. Hurt and clutter from past relationships can weigh anyone down, but closing doors on possibilities is even woeful and might cause regret later on.
It’s never too late to turn things around.
Ethan and Joy were baffled for a point in time until they finally decided to do what they have always wanted to do. Changing habits is a difficult path to plod, but both of them do realize that if they really want to get somewhere, they have to change their mindsets and get to the bottom of things.
Career over Love
I am not saying choosing one over the other is always right, but as Kathryn asked in the film, “Kung mahal mo ko, bakit pinapapili mo ‘ko?” There are points in your life you might not be able to get everything you want, but it’s all a matter of carefully evaluating your options and going for whichever your heart desires.
Clarity and communication is important in relationships
Every relationship needs an adjustment, especially when it comes to communicating. Otherwise, there would be a meltdown! And no matter how clear you think you are, there are times when you might need to be even more up-front —as our protagonists Ethan and Joy learn the hard way.
Choosing yourself is not always selfish.
Times can get tough and for some, they hold it out for their loved ones or other important people to them. In the case of Joy, there was hardly a day in her life when she thought of herself. There’s this investment in being selfless to a fault but it prompts the question, “When do you choose yourself?” It can be easy to get used to give precedence to other people, but it’s not bad at all to, for once, think about what you want, what you truly deserve and what you see for yourself.
Overall, I give the film a perfect score of 5 stars!