I Love You, Hater is the fourth JoshLia film in just two years, proving that this tandem has indeed made an indelible mark in Philippine cinema. May it be the usual rom-com or heavy drama, they’ve shown us that they’re now the blockbuster love team to beat and this time, they are joined by the Philippines’s Queen of All Media, Kris Aquino. Now let’s tally the number of popcorn points this quirky romantic comedy flick has to offer.
[related: #ASAPInHonolulu: KathNiel, JoshLia, and MayWard Sent Us Kilig Vibes All The Way From Hawaii]
From their first team-up in Vince And Kath And James, JoshLia’s onscreen chemistry has been undeniable. Aside from both their acting prowesses which have exponentially improved in such a short time, the kilig that their tandem brings is enough for you to gloss over the film’s shortcomings in its direction, editing and storyline. +5
Joshua Garcia, yet again, churns out an impressive portrayal as Joko, a character who tries to lie through his hardships in life. This character would be so relatable to all audiences and someone everyone can learn from. +3
In a certain series of sequences, though, he transforms to a full-fledged beki all in a matter of a few hours. It must be the film’s way of establishing the absurdity of the world it wants to build but hmmm, I don’t think I’m buying into it... -2
Julia Barretto is the revelation in this one. Her character Zoey is given a lot of both comic and dramatic moments to shine. I’d compare her improvement to that of Daniel Padilla with KathNiel where he just gets better after every film. I am now sincerely hoping for a an even more challenging role she can bite her teeth into for her next project. +4
In the film, though, Zoey plays a character that calls her mom "girl." Another big hmmm... -2
Watch out for some jarring scenes. It feels like they missed some lines or had some lapses in continuity. Watch intently and I’m sure you’ll notice them. Add to that some jarring editing choices. Must be 'cause they shot this cutting too close to the playdate. -3
This may be Kris’ most effective performance ever on film 'cause in a way, she just practically plays herself. No acting was really required of her, just don’t make her cry. Though, her final scene with her dad brought the waterworks for me, and is one of the most notable and remarkable scenes in the film. And as Kris would say: Love, love, love! +4
The money shot as they call it, or the final confrontation scene between Joko and Zoey, showcased a tour de force from both the leads. (+4) So, even though it was problematic script-wise (-2), their performances were enough to turn this scene around. +2
Again, get your note apps ready for some noteworthy quotable quotes just like: "Mahirap palampasin kung pinaniniwalaan mo.." and "Forgiveness is not for that person, but for yourself." Powerful sound bites that will linger in your soul. +3
With a total of 14 points just like the love number of the Love Month, there’s still much to love about I Love You, Hater. Though a more fitting title would have been, I Love You, Liar, I get why they went for the catchier choice which didn't make too much sense, much like some portions of the film. If you just wanna feel the right amount of kilig and emo in this humdrum weather, too, this film offers a lot of those moments. So, just for these, it’s worth the watch.
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Photos courtesy of Star Cinema