Dito at Doon (Here and There): Movie Review

"Dito at Doon" ("Here and There") provides the perfect feels in the right context and right frame of mind. It's a time capsule of the year that forced all of us to change in ways we couldn't have predicted or imagined. Creative, amusing and even moving, we found ourselves relating to the film most of its running time. But like the dilemma between its lead characters Len and Caloy, the film works best if you are part of its target audience but could easily isolate those outside of it.
It is March 2020 and the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila is in place and people are undeniably struggling to cope with stay-at-home protocols. Len (Janine Gutierrez) lashes out on social media about it and by Caloy (JC Santos) responds heavily against her opinion. With her night ruined by an online troll, she decides to unwind by having a video call with her good friends (Victor Anastacio and Yesh Burce). But as luck would have it, Caloy is actually an acquaintance of one her friends and is also in the call. As expected, the two go on a heated debate. The next day, Caloy decides to apologize to Len for his actions the previous night which Len reluctantly accepts. Even with their rough beginnings, the two eventually jive and learn to like each other. Can they sustain their budding relationship through virtual calls and online messages amidst the other personal challenges of the pandemic?
Reminsicing about 2020 wasn't really something that we would have considered "fun to do" but "Dito at Doon" found a way to make a somber year interesting. And we think that was its best asset outside its excellent and creative cinematography and very relatable script. "Dito at Doon" makes you appreciate the silver lining in a situation like having the technology to be with family or friends virtually or simply having the capability and time to do silly things to pass the boredom away. What we most appreciated though is how tightly and effortlessly integrated these elements are to its story. Nothing felt forced or out of place and the appreciations and complaints our characters go through are thoughts and sentiments each and everyone of us probably questioned for the past 12 months or so. Of course, this is a romance-drama so expect some clichéd formula and tropes in its story. For us, Director JP Habac was able to make these somewhat fresh with his unique take on bridging the issue of distance. The decision of putting characters in one room as they virtually converse was unexpectedly powerful and the way these were transitioned back and forth were excellent and clean. The cinematography in particular was one of our favorite elements within the film. Chemistry-wise, we loved the Janine Gutiererz and JC Santos pairing and we also found the supporting roles of Victor Anastacio and Yesh Burce having the right amount of humor to lighten up the mood at the right moments. Overall, it was already a feat to make a simple love story come out as interesting especially against the backdrop of a lockdown or pandemic. "Dito at Doon" found ways to execute not only a love story between two people but extending it to frontliners, family, and friends.
Rating: 4 reels

Why you should watch it:
- provides a nostalgic look to a year most of us want to forget
- able to mix critical elements of the pandemic seamlessly with its story

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- it has a limited scope and demogrpahic in our opinion and could alienate some audiences

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