Here and There (2020) Review: COVID, Lockdown and Love

Here and There, or Dito at Doon, is a romantic movie directed by Jaime Habac Jr. and starring Janine Gutierrez, JC Santos, and Victor Anastacio, alongside other cast members. The movie is 98 minutes long.

Netflix’s official description reads:

After meeting through a heated exchange on social media, two people with different backgrounds begin an online romance in the midst of a pandemic.

– Here and There review does not contain spoilers –

Here and There starts with our protagonists have a fight-off on “Facenook” in the midst of the pandemic. Len posts on her wall about how people should be able to stay at home and not complain about it or want to go out and party in the midst of a pandemic. However, when an unknown commentator has a differing opinion, she has a row with him. Turns out, that person is Mark’s friend and Len and Caloy have another fight on a video call.

Right off the bat, Here and There does something unique with all of our daily struggles during the lockdown. Instead of just showing people talking on the screen, it brings its participants together in the same room. Thus, effectively saying, even if we’re not meeting in person, we are still together.

Here and There really does bring the various experiences of the privileged and the not-so privileged to the forefront. While Len can stay at home, her mother or Caloy cannot. They have work, a livelihood and they need to make a living. However, Len does not understand their point of view and states her opinions as to be the absolute truth.

We have seen many such social warriors who do not understand others’ points of views. According to them, since they can stay at home and be ok with it, others, too, have to be happy about the situation. Empathy is something very important in these situations and understanding others’ problems is key. That doesn’t mean you can run around without a mask – don’t do that.

Anyway, as Len makes Dalgona coffee, there’s just something real about Here and There. After their initial fight, they kiss and makeup and the texting starts, since, you know, lockdown. I love how their phone conversations are brought face-to-face. It gives hope and makes the viewing experience sweet. You also feel closer to their relationship because of it.

Also Read: Netflix’s Alter Me Review: No Alteration in this Love Story

You also feel close to them and their relationship as they talk about their lockdown problems. It’s hard to be away from your friends and family and to be stuck at home. They also talk about their own families and honestly, the exposition is fitting and feels natural in the setting.

Here and There’s conflict comes in the form of the pandemic itself. Nothing really happens between the characters themselves, but when your loved ones have COVID, that’s enough drama and heartbreak to last the entire runtime. However, the movie ends on a cliffhanger which I am really confused about. It doesn’t provide a tight ending to tie up all the loose ends – just finishes it off without much care. But, then again, the pandemic can make people crazy stuff.

As Here and There starts with insufferable characters, you have hope that they will get better and have a satisfying arc at the end. Let’s face it, Len’s character isn’t that great at first. She’s not the worst and you get her point of view. However, she lacks the awareness that should come with privilege. Caloy provides him with a different perspective and she’s better off for it.

Also Read: Netflix’s Hometown Cha Cha Cha Episode 2 Recap: Grey Characters

Janine Gutierrez and JC Santos are relatable, sweet and great as our protagonists. They have genuinely good chemistry as well. Gutierrez is both sweet and annoying as Len and does a great job. Meanwhile, Santos feels genuine as the hard-working Caloy.

One thing that will annoy you regarding Here and There is the atrocious colour correcting. It’s all over the place and most of the time it just shifts drastically. You’d be able to clearly see it because they did such a choppy job.

Here and There
Here and There (2020) Review: COVID, Lockdown and Love 10

Plus, the runtime is a bit too long considering the movie doesn’t really do much. As in, it’s a movie about a romance in between a pandemic. However, at 98 minutes, there’s not much that it provides to keep us glued to the screen. Sure, it’s nice to watch the characters grow closer and ride out the lockdown, but it’s not quite enough.

Additionally, Caloy really wants to get to know Len. Like, desperately. Ok, they had a connection in their first call, but Caloy video calls Len, whom he essentially doesn’t know at this point, the day after they start talking. I mean, sure, if you’re into it then whatever. But Here and There tells us that Len isn’t someone to give in so easily, so why does she here?

Summing up: Here and There

Here and There
Here and There (2020) Review: COVID, Lockdown and Love 11

Here and There is a good movie to watch simply because of how it makes us watch the interactions between people in a lockdown during COVID. It’s relatable and the romance feels natural and nice. Although the movie does not come with many conflicts between the characters, yet the impending sense of doom due to the pandemic is always there. It’s a nuanced story that captures the paradox that was (or is) the pandemic and the lockdown and captures its essence well.

Here and There is streaming on Netflix.

Also Read: A Faraway Land (2020) Review: Love at First Sight and Stuff

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Overall

SUMMARY

Here and There is a sweet movie that is nuanced and captures the essence and the paradox of the pandemic and the lockdown.

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