Right from the get-go, Hello, Love, Goodbye enjoyed significant buzz with Alden Richards’ involvement in the project. Not only was he paired with the female half of his rival loveteam, but this also served as his first major engagement outside of his home network. That made this team-up an exciting – and heavily marketable – prospect.
But HLG is a lot more than that, and I commend Star Cinema for making that so. It would have gotten away with a shallow, sappy rom-com (remember Jennylyn Mercado in Just The Three of Us?) and just bandwagoning on the novelty of its leads, but instead it presents a fully realized, culturally significant piece that resonates with global Pinoys.
While a story on OFWs in Hong Kong isn’t anything new – it has been presented docu-style in MMFF 2016 Best Picture Winner Sunday Beauty Queen – there is a certain appeal in re-presenting it in Star Cinema fashion. It allows getting the message across a bit covertly, not to mention the wider reach. Besides, these tales never grow old and are even more relevant in our increasingly interconnected world.
The love story that holds everything together is arguably the most pragmatic (yet still very romantic) both Alden and Kathryn portrayed. This is no She’s Dating The Gangster or Imagine You and Me. Despite their relatively young age, there’s a weariness to both characters that come from their individual experiences. While having different dreams and goals, they gave love a chance and made the most of the time they had – and tried their hardest to make it work. There’s maturity expressed in how they dealt with their eventual fates.
They always say indies trump mainstream films, but HLG is living proof of why it isn’t always the case. Affecting, emotional, and important – I hope we see more movies like this!