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Mon. Oct 21st, 2019

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

3 min read

‘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.
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