Undeniably, The Hows Of Us is this year’s Pinoy mega blockbuster movie with a whopping P36M on its opening day and P280M after its five-day run. So, it’s pretty safe to assume that this Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla starrer, their reunion with Direk Cathy Garcia-Molina, would end up to be the highest grossing Kathniel movie yet. And it seems bound to smash box office records! Being a self-confessed Kathniel fan, I got so thrilled about this—so let’s try to decipher what has caused this phenomenon!
[related: Love Actually: Personality Wise, Kathryn Says She's Far Different From DJ—But It Works!]
The film’s opening sequence exhibits the evolution of the couple’s ‘house’—a smart play on words that stems from the film’s title. It also presents soundbites of particular plot points in the story which in a way, gives away the film’s plot already. But since the plot is not what the film is all about, it presents a fresh approach for a mainstream film—which in turn usually progresses linearly. It delves into the meat of their relationship and is more about the journey rather than the destination. +3
The first few sequences are well storyboard-ed, complete with stop motion effects and all. It starts off light with a lot of witty banter that is meant to entertain with heightened comic moments. As the film develops, the tone gets heavier and even more larger-than-life to melodramatic lengths. Personally, it ain’t my cup of tea but the cinema audience seems to dig it anyway and are seemingly engaged. +2
Hugot lines and the signature English punchlines at dramatic moments are aplenty, so get ur note apps ready. These are stuff of future memes! Not only does this material strike a chord among hugot-loving individuals, it especially targets those who have been in relationships where emotion is weighed against ambition. +3
The film’s tone, though, isn’t one that personally scintillates my interest. It goes for the bigness of its emotional units as opposed to subtle yet powerful moments. But what works for this material is the indisputable chemistry of our beloved Kathniel love team plus their individual acting prowesses that are its utmost peak in this film. -2
Daniel Padilla shines yet again in this one, as expected in the role of Primo, a perfectionist of a musician whose passion is what both drew George (Bernardo) to him, and drove her away eventually. This generation’s premiere leading man and half of the country’s indisputed top love team, has been showing exponential growth as an actor from one film to another. He proves that he cannot only bring shrills to female fans with his smoldering charisma, but also become a serious thespian in both comedy and drama. What once started as a Teen King is now a certified Dramatic King! +5
Of course, our former Teen Queen also delivers more than her fair share in the film. In fact, this is my favorite performance of hers to date. She is oozing with sensuality as her character, a side of hers we’ve never really seen in this kind of light before. In deed, she need not bear too much skin to do so! While less is so much more, this does not overshadow the incredible showcase of her acting range. So to all her detractors who call her out for her pabebe acting, well, let’s see you dare to declare that again! +5
Expectedly, the formulaic plot has to have some family angle there somewhere. And just like most blockbusters, it has to have scenes shot in a foreign location—in this case, Amsterdam. And so it is established that George’s father stays there and her brother, Yohan, who is losing his eyesight, has been longing to see their estranged father before he goes blind. Quick fix, right? The problem is, this whole trip just does not organically flow with the story, then feeling like a bit of a waste of such picturesque location (-4). But that's except for that beautiful pivotal sunset scene! (+2) It was supposed to be shot in a field of tulips like how George's fascination with it has been previously established. But I’m guessing they went to the location on its off season, ending up with just some colorful flora and without any tulips in sight! Yikes! #ProductionConstraints -2
The third major character in the film is that ‘house’ of theirs. It adds a nice touch to the story, giving meaning to an inanimate figure that symbolizes a big part of our lead characters’ relationship. I’m just not really sold on how they both magically ended up there at the same time after two years of being apart, and why it was willed to them by George’s grandmother even though they’re not yet married. But, hey, in line with the tone of hyper-realism, forget it, right? #SuspensionOfDisbelief +3
For a total of 17 points for our beloved tandem’s sevent film together, seven seems to be a real lucky number for KathNiel. They say that timing is everything and it seems like that is what’s behind this film’s phenomenal success. It may not be my favorite Kathniel film, but this is the best performance of theirs, by far, which only proves that sometimes all you need are awesome lead actors to carry a film through its shortcomings. This just fortifies my being a #KathNielForever fan and I can’t wait for them to sink their teeth into deeper and more serious materials later on. That statement seems like déjà vu for me and it probably is.
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Photos courtesy of Star Cinema and taken from Kathryn Bernardo's Instagram