The Long Plot, Sans Spoilers
For Joy (Kathryn Bernardo), Hong Kong is just a stopover on her way to achieving her dream of moving to Canada. She was a nurse back in Manila, but in Hong Kong, she is a domestic helper who sells gadgets as a side job. She's exhausted trying to raise money to pay for her Canadian visa and send money to support her blind father and younger siblings back home. When the opportunity of working as a waitress at a bar presents itself, she grabs the chance to earn more cash.
That's where she meets Ethan (Alden Richards), a bartender who is three years shy of getting resident status in Hong Kong. He's a happy-go-lucky guy with no real plan for his life. He has a reputation of being a ladies' man and is used to getting his way with any girl. So when his charms don't work on Joy, he is challenged and instantly smitten.
The more he gets to know Joy, the more he wants to be part of her life. Eventually, Joy falls for him, too.
But Joy is determined to move to Canada for a better life, and Ethan is set on building his better life in Hong Kong. Will their love be enough to keep them together?
The Short, Honest Plot
It's a beautiful telling and tribute to the millennial Overseas Filipino Workers' (OFW) story.
The Main Actors And Where You Last Saw Them
Kathryn Bernardo as Joy
Alden Richards as Ethan
Alden Richards is still a regular host on Eat Bulaga! and Sunday Pinasaya, but his last teleserye was Victor Magtanggol, which ended in November 2018.
Jameson Blake as Edward
Maymay Entrata as Mary Dale
Kakai Bautista as Sally
Kakai Bautista is part of the Michael V-directed drama Family History, which is currently showing in theaters. The singer-comedienne also reprised her role as Mercy in the hit musical Rak of Aegis, which runs until September 29.
Joross Gamboa as Jim
Joross Gamboa recently starred in a Maalaala Mo Kaya episode called "Rattle."
Lovely Abella as Gina
Lovely Abella was part of the recently-concluded GMA-7 teleserye, Dragon Lady, which starred Janine Gutierrez.
Jeffrey Tam as Carlo
In December 2018, Jeffrey Tam appeared in an indie movie called The Spiders' Man.
Did You Know?
1. It's the first time for Kathryn to be paired with someone other than her love team partner and real-life boyfriend Daniel Padilla! The two first teamed up in 2011 for the youth-oriented show Growing Up.
Alden, on the other hand, has played the leading man to a number of GMA-7 actresses—Louise Delos Reyes, Marian Rivera, Kylie Padilla, Janine Gutierrez, and Maine Mendoza. His team-up with Maine is the one that made the most impact for his career. In 2015, they were dubbed the Phenomenal Love Team because of their rapid rise in popularity after sparks flew when they were accidentally paired up in Eat Bulaga's "Kalyeserye."
2. In order to prepare Kathryn for the role of Joy, director Cathy Garcia-Molina starved her of attention. To make her understand how a lonely, homesick OFW feels, the cast and crew were not allowed to talk to Kath. Direk Cathy even took away her phone on days when she had to shoot heavy scenes so she couldn't talk to people back home or entertain herself with social media. Kathryn also had to learn how to clean the toilet and give a pedicure for this film.
Direk Cathy said, "Si Kath, ang agang naging artisa so hindi alam kung paano maging normal na tao. Mahihirapan siyang bigyan ng buhay [ang character] kung 'di niya alam kung ano ang lahat ng 'to. Pinagawa sa kanya ng totoo. I asked Mommy [Min] to back off and I'm very happy that she obliged...In other words, I stripped her off her pagiging artista. I will bring out what I need from Kathryn to be Joy even if it means mag-aaway tayo. Lahat puwede mong gawin except one thing—walk out. In fact, pinagbawalan ko siya to communicate with DJ [Daniel Padilla] kasi it will bring her back to her Kathryn self."
3. Alden lost 20 to 25 pounds in a month and a half in time for their Hong Kong filming. His motivation? At Alden and Kathryn's look test for Hello, Love, Goodbye, Direk Cathy showed him how he registered onscreen. Alden talked about it during the movie's press conference, and said, "So noong nagta-take na kami ng test shots, parang 'di na yata napigilan ni direk. Sabi niya, 'Alden, halika dito. Tingnan mo, ang taba mo.' Parang 'yon ang nag-drive talaga sa akin after the look test.”
Alden went on a strict diet. "No rice, no carbs, no salt, no sweets, no fruits, no meat na pork and beef. Okay lang chicken breast, walang skin," shared Alden in an interview. He also worked out regularly.
What My Friend Thinks:
"Under the direction of Cathy Garcia-Molina and written by my favorite writer Carmi Raymundo, this all-girl tandem never fails! ALDEN RICHARDS is reborn, ladies and gents, Kathryn outperforms herself every single time, and KathDen is electrifying! I do encourage you to go and catch Hello, Love, Goodbye to fan the flames of your heart that dreams, loves, and eventually has to choose." —Mina
What I Think:
This movie gave me so many feels that it was a little hard to process after. In fact, I watched it again on its second day, and it still had the same effect on me. I cried, I laughed, I thought about my favorite scenes—and there are a lot! It's just the kind of movie that deserves a second watch (or more)!
One thing I know for sure is that I absolutely LOVED Hello, Love, Goodbye! It was a beautiful telling and tribute to the millennial OFW's story.
It reminds me of another powerful movie about OFWs that came out 19 years ago—Anak, which starred Vilma Santos 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 strain it puts on their families. This film is a lighter and more kilig version of Anak, focusing more on the love that blossoms between Joy (Kathryn) and Ethan (Alden).
The movie, which was written by the talented Carmi Raymundo and directed by the great Cathy Garcia-Molina, was exquisitely sewn together. You know how sometimes there are movies that have scenes that you feel are out-of-place or not really relevant in the telling of the story? I hate that. And Hello, Love, Goodbye didn't have any scene that was unnecessary or unwarranted. As I write this review, I find myself remembering my personal standout scenes and how each one made me feel. It's truly a gift when a film has that effect on its viewers.
Also, the writing was superb. There are so many quotable quotes from this movie!
I was pleasantly surprised at the chemistry between Kathryn and Alden. I already saw it in the movie's teaser, but seeing the whole film made me a believer of KathDen. They are proof that two people don't actually have to be in a relationship to create that kind of magic onscreen (just like John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo, the OG non-couple whose chemistry is off-the-charts)!
This made me see Kathryn in a new light. I've been a KathNiel and Kathryn fan for years, but I have to admit that I had my misgivings when I first found out that she would be paired with Alden. I was just always so used to seeing her with Daniel. But in this film, she proves yet again that she is a credible and competent actress. While I can't wait for KathNiel to get married and have little Kaths and DJs running around, I am certain that Kathryn can shine on her own, outside of the love team that fans have come to love.
I've heard people say in the past that Kathryn's acting is "pabebe," meaning she is only fit to do teenybopper roles. Well, let me tell you, there is no trace of "pabebe" here. She was believable and real as Joy. If you saw The Hows Of Us and felt like she was finally able to come out of her teen shell, you NEED to see her in this movie. She didn't just portray Joy. She WAS Joy. Direk Cathy's intense methods of prepping Kath definitely paid off. She was also stunning even sans makeup.
As for Alden, I have known for a long time that he is a good actor who takes his craft seriously. Here, he proves that yet again. I love how Alden can so fluidly switch between comedy and drama. Like Kathryn, he completely embodied his role as Ethan. His acting was nuanced. I could feel his every emotion just by watching him—his playful interactions with Joy, how his love for Joy grew, his frustration at the things he could do nothing about, his patience every time things didn't go his way.
The supporting cast was stellar as well! Kakai, Maymay, Lovely, Joross, and Jeffrey provided most of the comedy. Jameson was also credible as the emotionally-wounded brother of Ethan. Lito Pimentel, who played Ethan's bed-ridden father, was also commendable. Even the Chinese actors who played Joy's employers were good!
I also love how in this movie, no one overacted. It made it easy for the viewer to just follow the story without distractions.
The film is near perfect for me. I only have two minor problems with it. First, I felt like Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan was not the right fit for the role of Joy's mother. She acts very well, but she seems too sosyal for the role she plays. I seriously can't imagine her as a domestic helper. Second, there's a part towards the end of the movie where it's quite obvious that visual effects were used. It's very minor though and didn't lessen the impact the film had on me.
Overall, this movie gets a 10/10 from me. It's one of those movies that will stay with you for a very long time.
I'd Recommend It To:
- Kathryn and Alden fans! You will have an elevated appreciation for these two fantastic actors when you watch this movie.
- Even non-fans will enjoy this film! Watch this if you're a romantic, if you want to relax after a stressful week, if you're an OFW yourself, or have family members working abroad.