Adulting Hits Hard in these Films from Reel- & Real-Life Couples and We’re Ready to Relive the Pain

The 2018 film The Hows of Us starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, and the 2019 successor Alone/Together of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, are arguably the best cinematic work from the two couples, not only because of the amount of unbelievable chemistry from the A-list actors who get to tell these stories, but more from the hard-hitting realities it presented that resonated well with its viewers.

The two films were ultimately the narratives that broke the mold of “teen love teams” originally surrounding some of the most recognizable love pairs in the industry, KathNiel and LizQuen, who are also coincidentally two of the biggest and most adored real-life pairings in today’s entertainment industry in the Philippines.

Producing a film starring these young stars are an almost-guarantee to a box-office hit, so it’s not surprising at all that so many people went out to the cinemas for it (at the time when sold-out cinemas are still a thing). More than the typical romance story of forgiveness, awkward reunions, and quotable “hugot” quotes that make up the anatomy of today’s romantic movie tropes, each production provides an emotional depiction of what it means to stay optimistic and hopeful in a world seemingly designed to wreck it all apart.

Both films follow a couple off their college years, young and adamant to change the world and reach their dreams. Fast forward to a couple of years later, and we find them again reuniting post-break up, burdened by their adult obligations and the wreckage of their past pre- young adult selves.

Outside the heartbreaking scenes between exes, a big contributing factor to the films’ respective successful runs is the way their characters’ career pains, existential questions, and unavoidable responsibilities resounded with the country. For the academic youth, it was a daunting window to their near future; for fresh-out-of-college yuppies, it was a reflection of their own struggles; and for middle-aged adults and older, it was a reminder of what could be, and what might have been.

Before you watch (or rewatch like the rest of us), here are some cold hard truths about life and youth we learned from these movies:

We all have our own timelines

A big theme in these movies is getting lost in one’s journey to chase his/her dreams, and feeling like a failure for it: Soberano’s Tin being led astray from her goal, and meeting her now successful ex, and Bernardo’s George emotionally listing down her friends’ names and talking about everything they’ve already achieved. If there’s anything these characters’ stories tell us, it’s that there’s no use comparing ourselves to others. We all have our own timelines, and we’ll all eventually reach our goals as long as we work hard for it.

Don’t let other people rule your life

This one has a romantic aspect to it in the films, but we also saw it in the way some characters make their life decisions based on what their families want for them, which is a big cultural truth for many students in college, especially in a Philippine setting. Going back to its romantic roots, the notion of a significant other “ruling” one’s life, either consciously or unconsciously, was widely explored in the way these characters sacrificed so much of themselves to take care or support their loved ones. Emotional dialogues in the climax show us that this is never worth it, especially if it means losing ourselves in the process.

Stay hopeful and always dream big

Dreams are a big element in both films. Our characters, specifically that of the two female leads, each go through their own journeys of starting over again with their respective dreams. From the optimism they held in their college years, to feeling defeated by the world and questioning their own identities, to choosing something else over their happiness for practicality’s sake, and finally to picking themselves up again and daring to dream once more. On top of everything these movies showed us, they presented a hopeful and open ending to show us how indefinite life is, and how we can easily change our lives with the choices we make everyday.

Watch the two trailers below:

You can watch the “Hows of Us” on Netflix, while “Alone/Together” on Netflix and iWant