‘My Letters to Happy’ review: Exquisitely handles a touchy subject

‘My Letters to Happy’ tells a relevant and heartwarming story of lovers trying to overcome their personal flaws outside the relationship.

If you think that My Letters to Happy is just another local love story, brace yourself because it’s not. The romcom theme in it is actually just a facade to a much deeper subject matter. The film mostly veers towards self-discovery in the face of depression and other mental health issues. It poses a question that some people might have asked at their lowest points, “When all is lost and everything just seems hopeless, how do you find the strength to carry on?” It’s a sensitive topic that some directors would not dare mix with romcom elements, as a poor and an offensive execution will surely be met with a heavy backlash. Thankfully, director Pertee Briñas knows how to handle the touchy subject with exquisite sympathy.

My Letters to Happy centers around Albert (TJ Trinidad), a brilliant and passionate man who suddenly loses his drive for work after a series of unfortunate events. His luck changes when he meets Happy (Glaiza De Castro), a random girl that he has been chatting online. Little did he know, meeting her will unexpectedly change his life forever.

The film wonderfully depicts how mental illness affects a person and the people around him/her. The illness is shockingly revealed in the middle part of the film and it throws almost every audience on the edge of their seats after realizing that Happy’s sudden bursts of happiness are all momentary. This part of the story truly changes the phase for the whole film. It’s a bit heavy in emotions yet it’s positively infused with hope to make us realize that love, after all, consists of equal parts of joy and pain.

Glaiza and TJ’s chemistry is relatable, sweet and delightful. Glaiza’s portrayal of her character is really amazing as she’s on the top of her game.  She’s convincing in every spectrum – you can feel her struggles emotionally and physically. TJ on the other hand, fits the role well enough to make us believe that he is a ruthless corporate boss who gradually becomes vulnerable and open to changes in his lifestyle dynamic, including the possibility of loving someone.

Director Pertee Briñas does a remarkable job in telling a powerful story with such awareness towards the sensitive topics of mental health. Despite its cinematography lapses (the distracting camera angles moves a lot), the film does not stop at shallow entertainment brought by a roller coaster ride of emotions. It gives a heartwarming lesson all while juggling an engaging love story.

In effect, My Letters to Happy serves as an uplifting letter to anyone who feels lost and aimlessly wandering for their mark in the world. It also reminds each of us that all struggles eventually come to an end. The film is indeed an honest reflection of our lives. It is daring, unique, and deserving to be seen.

4 out of 5 stars
Directed by Pertee Briñas, ‘My Letters to Happy’ stars Glaiza De Castro, TJ Trinidad, and Alyssa Valdez. 100 minutes. PG-13.

‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’ grosses P464-M in PH, now all-time biggest Columbia Pictures film

The phenomenal success of Spider-Man: Far From Home is far from over as the latest Peter Parker adventure has just become Columbia Pictures’ all-time biggest grossing movie in the Philippines, and showing no sign of slowing down.

Far From Home has amassed a victorious P464.07-million box-office gross in its first two weeks of release in 720 screens.  The film smashed the studio record on Day 13 when it outperformed the final gross of 2014’s Amazing Spider-Man 2 at P451.9-million.

Positive audience reaction and overwhelming acclaim from critics enabled your friendly neighborhood superhero to continue dominating the box-office.

The top three biggest theater receipts came from SM Mall of Asia (P13.8-M), SM Megamall (P13.3-M) and Trinoma (P12.37-M).

In the Top 15 rankings are SM North EDSA (12.33-M), Glorietta IV (P8.6-M), Power Plant (P8-M), Greenbelt (P7.3-M), Alabang Town Center (P5.9-M), UP Town Center (P5.765-M), SM Aura (P5.760-M), Ayala Cebu (P5.71-M), SM Cebu (P5.65-M), Robinsons Magnolia (P5.60-M), Vista Mall Evia (P5.5-M) and Greenhills (P5.2-M).

Rounding out the Top 30 screens are Uptown Mall Taguig (P5.18-M), Fisher Mall (P5.13-M), Red Carpet Cinema (P5.11-M), Bonifacio High Street (P5.04-M), SM Southmall (P5.0308-M), SM Baguio (P5.0302-M), SM Clark (P4.835-M), SM Seaside (P4.830-M), Robinsons Ermita (P4.82-M), Fairview Terraces (P4.58-M), SM San Lazaro (P4.56-M), Gateway Cineplex (P4.55-M), SM Dasmariñas (P4.51-M), Ayala Mall Feliz (P4.2-M) and SM Bacoor (P4.1-M).

The Tom Holland-starrer is still playing in over 200 screens across the country, going on its 3rd week.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Holland star in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME.

Home grossed P292.5-M during its first five days of release (July 3 to 7), breaking three significant records — All-Time Biggest Opening Weekend for a Columbia Pictures Title, All-Time Biggest Opening Weekend for a Spider-Man film (33% higher than Spider-Man: Homecoming) and All-Time Biggest July Opening Weekend.  

In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Tom Holland returns as our friendly neighborhood Super Hero who, following the events of Avengers: Endgame, must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever. The film expands the Spider-Man film universe, taking Peter Parker out of his comfort zone and his home in Queens, New York City, and hurling him across Europe during what was supposed to be a school vacation – but which becomes his greatest challenge and most epic adventure ever.

Directed by Jon Watts. Screenplay by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  Produced by Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal.

Tom Holland is joined in the cast by Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. #SpiderManFarFromHome