In a special screening for My Letters to Happy at Cine Adarna, director Pertee Brinas said, "Let’s face it, romance movies are what sells. But we can put a spin on it to advocate for something more?” He’s right, there’s no denying that Philippine cinema is filled with rom-coms and #hugot-centric films these days. People love love—no matter how cliché and predictable they tend to be. Though My Letters to Happy falls a little bit under that we’ve-seen-this-before category, its effort to put mental health awareness to light is what makes it shine.
The movie stars TJ Trinidad, who plays Abet, a successful CEO to his own company who mourns the sudden death of his mother; and Glaiza de Castro, who plays Happy, a cupcake-loving recruitment agent suffering from bipolar disorder. The two fall in love, but Happy’s complicated and deteriorating mental state makes their relationship a lot more complex than normal couples. TJ and Glaiza portray their characters beautifully and with such depth and understanding. TJ is considerably still one of the greatest (and underrated) actors working today, and he plays Abet with such grounded ease. But it’s Glaiza’s portrayal of Happy that will move you. The actress grasps Happy’s complexities and ticks so well and she powerfully conveys the intricate difficulties of living with a mental illness. In this exclusive interview with Preview, Glaiza talks more about her role and why this movie is a must-watch not just for the kilig.
Preview: What made you say yes to My Letters To Happy?
Glaiza: When I first read read the script, I was really interested to do it cause it's something new to me and [the script] struck my heart.
Your character deals with mental illness, how did you do research for it?
I honestly Googled at first! But seriously, that was one of my resources—but it was Direk Pertee who guided me all throughout the process and because it's his script. Happy basically is his brainchild.
What do you think people should know about mental illness? Does this film also tackle awareness?
Definitely. It also discusses how we all should deal and empathize with individuals suffering from it. The movie also shows how people can be triggered by certain events and how those triggers eventually become part of who they are. Some people treat it as a phase but how do we know that it's already an illness? The film shows we should act on it.
What are the things you learned about life and love based on your character’s struggles?
What is My Letters to Happy about for you?
My Letters to Happy tackles the reality of life and love. It's a film that advocates for mental health awareness to everyone—with or without a mental disorder. The film shows how we can help ourselves and how to help others. I hope the film gives the audience clarity, when we get confused about overcoming our own struggles.
Why do you think people should watch the movie?
Love is a universal language and who doesn't want to talk about love and the realities of it? I think this film will serve as a guide on why we should not give up on love. In the end, don't we all just want to love and be loved?
*My Letters to Happy is still showing in select theaters nationwide. Check out their Facebook page for more info on the screenings.