My Letters to Happy does not mimic the 2010 romantic-comedy film Letters to Juliet. It’s an original work of director Pertee Brinas that took three years to create.
The ‘My’ in the title pertains to the character of TJ Trinidad as Albert and the singer-songwriter-actress, Glaiza De Castro breathes into the role of Happy.
If Sophie Hall (Amanda Seyfried) discovered the letters to Juliet at the Verona courtyard in Italy, in this local film, Albert gets to write letters to Happy via his small notebook that he carries wherever he goes.
At first glance, moviegoers might mistake the film as another crappy and commercialized romantic-comedy. It is not. It is masquerading as one, but it has more meat to offer in terms of tackling relationships between partners and to one’s self.
Because of an unfortunate event in Albert’s life, he succumbed to depression. He reached the point in his life that he lost hope until he met the woman-sunshine in his life, Happy (Just a nickname). She was able to pull him out of the rut. The relationship he was able to build with her made a different human, a positive person out of him.
What bothers me is the not-so-clear and convenient way of Albert getting hooked with a dating app. His being single for the longest time and choosing to devote himself to his career were all presented in dialogues. The film failed to show Albert’s pain.
De Castro’s acting is so effective in her confrontation with Trinidad. That makes the film poignant. She deserves an acting nomination for this. But the latter needs to sink in deeper and to understand the internal struggles of Albert.
The film is about an individual’s victory and self-rediscovery. Its attempt to be chatty through Happy still didn’t quite translate well on the silver screen. De Castro is a good actress, but she has to study more of her comic timing. Instead of achieving a comic relief, the tension was dominant.
The storytelling is unconventional but made it confusing instead. For the most part, its shots were dark as it paints the darkside[s] of the characters, particularly on Albert and Happy.
Shamaine Buencamino’s cameo has made an impact in conveying a strong message to its audience. For me, it’s necessary.
Its powerful cast includes Benj Manalo, Teetin Villanueva, Sarah Facuri, Juan Miguel Severo, Melai Etuna and Ms. Odette Khan. It’s also Alyssa Valdez baptism of fire in a film.
It will be shown in cinemas nationwide on July 17.