Hello, Love, Goodbye (2019)
More than the love story that was or wasn't, how it ended, and whether or not there will be a sequel, I think we need to talk about Hello, Love, Goodbye (2019)’s overarching message on the role of women and children in Filipino families—as it is one we all need to hear.
A scene that struck me:
Joy and her DH (domestic helper) friends watching Anak (2000), where Vilma Santos bursts into a tirade on the many hardships she has had to endure as a DH just to be able to provide for her family. Ugly crying hysterically—perhaps partly out of frustration and partly out of anger—Sally, Joy’s friend and fellow DH, retorts at Ate Vi’s character:
“Sa sakripisyo lang ba pwedeng ipakita ang pagmamahal?”
She added: “Pag ang babae binigay lahat, tanga. Pag pinili niya sarili niya, selfish. Saan ba talaga kami lulugar, Ate Vi?” And this makes me wish more Filipino women would see Hello, Love, Goodbye.
The film’s purpose isn’t to please the crowd, or simply entertain us. It tells our OFWs’ story, and one we can all relate to as Filipinos. More than breaking free from popular love team formulas (we need more of this, to be honest!), the film also bravely goes against ideals that we can blame on ‘toxic Filipino culture’, such as:
Children as investment
Expectations on the eldest child to be the breadwinner and take over the family’s finances. (Note: it's one thing to willingly help out parents out of due concern, especially when parents are lesser able, e.g. due to sickness; but taking over family obligations as an imposed responsibility is an entirely different story)
The concept of ‘utang na loob’
Finding a lover as the be-all, end-all of a young person’s life. Hey, there are other things beyond marriage and romantic relationships!
Sacrifice as love. Ugh
Thankfully, Joy overcomes her feelings of shame and guilt, and soon realizes that pursuing her dreams isn’t about being selfish. We've only been programmed to think so, and for years, women have always second-guessed making themselves a priority—which shouldn't be! And so Joy chooses the path that would lead her to the fulfillment she needs to have a meaningful life, and eventually, even serve others. And for someone with a lot of responsibility towards her family, and a lot of reason not to take off and stay where she is, it takes courage to finally put herself first, once and for all. And that alone deserves our applause. *clap clap*
All the same, Ethan takes the role of a thinking, mature millennial. Read again: thinking, mature millennial. Although reckless and without direction at first, he becomes a mature lover, and even more so a responsible kuya and son (in a brood of painfully great-looking men, if I may add).
More than pursuing his dreams to help his family out, I believe it is more a move that he has to do for his own sake and his own fulfillment. He learns to love healthily, and is finally taking accountability for his decisions. In short, he’s done with adulting, and accepts that he is an adult and acts as one. Most of all, I appreciate how the world doesn’t magically just solve all the problems for him—Ethan does so himself.
And therefore I conclude that Hello, Love, Goodbye should be appreciated beyond its love story and the fact that Alden and Kathryn's team-up was successful. It must be lauded for its bravery and discerning approach on issues that Filipino millennials, women, and children grapple with today.
And as a Filipino tita, of course I am happy for Kath and Alden. Cheers!
Photos are from Alden Richards’ Instagram