Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia’s “Love You to the Stars and Back” Made Us Cry!

Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia charmed us with their undeniable chemistry in Vince, Kath, and James, the surprise hit in last year’s Metro Manila Film Festival. Now, the two are back in Love You to the Stars and Back, and they’re making us feel kilig all over again!

The premise is simple enough: Barretto plays Mika, a young girl struggling to accept that her father has a new wife. A proud mama’s girl, she and her mom both believe in aliens and that it will abduct them. When Mika is told of unexpected news at home, she flees, hoping to climb Mt. Milagros to get abducted.

Along the way, she meets Garcia, who plays Caloy, a boy struggling with his own issues. He wants to meet his father, a man his single mother despises. It’s not exactly love at first sight between Mika and Caloy, but it’s the kind of romance that happens in real life: slow, hesitant, but sure. Things get more dramatic when we learn that Caloy is suffering from leukemia and he has roughly 12 months to live.

The core of Love You to the Stars and Back (and any movie starring Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia) is the chemistry the two of them share. There’s just something natural between the two of them, and I learn that many of their lines in this film have been improvised. Last night, I had dinner with the two and they revealed that director Antoinette Jadaone gave them enough freedom to grow into the roles and adapt it as they see fit.

Many have compared Garcia to John Lloyd Cruz and it’s easy to see why. He’s handsome, funny, and charming. He can make viewers (myself included) feel kilig whenever he speaks. But what separates Garcia from Cruz and other lead actors is that he can still make you feel things even when he does not talk. All it takes is one look.

Barretto is an enjoyable watch because she’s a natural. She inhabits her roles so well, whether she’s a boyish student struggling to make ends meet for her family in Vince, Kath, and James, and a quirky girl with a fascination for aliens in Love You to the Stars and Back. She’s fully committed to her roles that when you watch her chant her alien call, you believe that she believes it, too.

The story is ambitious. It takes a lot of elements: belief in aliens, hiking, cancer, love, and family, but Jadaone deftly combines everything into one cohesive and charming story. What is most impressive is that two young actors (in terms of age and experience in the industry) were tasked to take on the roles. They performed it flawlessly.

Love You to the Stars and Back is a breath of fresh air in local cinema and is worth watching. Let us know if it makes you cry, too!

Love You to the Stars and Back is now showing in cinemas nationwide.






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