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“She’s Dating the Gangster” Movie Review: Almost Great

she's dating the gangster poster | zuprome
KATHNIEL MAGIC. Once again, the magic is still there! Source: Star Cinema
If you’re a fan of Kathryn Bernardo or Daniel Padilla or Richard Gomez or Dawn Zulueta, this is one movie you shouldn’t miss. This romantic comedy offering of Star Cinema can surely make you smile!


Perhaps this could be Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla’s best movie yet. I have watched both “Must Be Love” and “Pagpag” and these actors' performances were never excellent. Surely they have matured in “She’s Dating the Gangster” since their last movie.

I have no plan reading the book but due to the movie screenwriter, Carmi Raymundo, who also wrote “One More Chance”, “Caregiver” and “Starting Over Again”, I gave this movie a chance and watched it in cinema on its first day of showing (that #SevenOneSixOneFour). But if you’re planning to watch this movie, think twice.

If you’re a Daniel Padilla fan, this maybe his best performance so far. Admit it, he’s not an excellent actor but his charming aura captured the hearts of millions. I’m not a fan of him but I can say that his sincerity in acting has definitely matured taking the role of both Kenji and Kenneth although I couldn’t distinguish his character from the other. Surely you wouldn’t miss to watch that scene with his father and this “Teen King” might make you cry.

If you love Kathryn Bernardo, her two characters are charming and adorable. Kelay reminds me of a contemporary teenager who goes into clubs and loves partying on a Friday night. On the other hand, Athena Dizon reminds me of a college student who’s strong enough to stand on what she believes in. Between the two, I would love to see more of Kelay but sadly her character was underdeveloped. Despite this, Kathryn Bernardo delivered a good performance as the “Teen Queen” of her generation.


The plot of the movie about a girl named Athena Dizon falling in love with a campus heartthrob and a gangster named Kenji delos Reyes is probably a typical one but what added drama to this simplistic love affair is the heart ailment of Athena which she kept hidden from Kenji. Is it enough to create a story worth remembering? A nod might not be my answer on this.

Most supporting characters are underdeveloped. Lucas Lazaro (played by Khalil Ramos) and Athena Abigail Tizon (played by Sofia Andres) could have been improved to make it more compelling to its matured audience. However, Kenji and Athena’s love story ended on both a realistically heartbreaking ending which book fans never expected.


The cinematic experience while watching “She’s Dating the Gangster” is worthwhile. You’ll enjoy the Mayon Volcano scene in Albay with Kenji and Athena, Kenneth and Kelay’s travel to Albay riding a pick-up, and how the movie depicted the 1990’s generation.

The decision of the Star Cinema management to add the characters of Kenneth and Kelay to the story of “She’s Dating the Gangster” was a definitely perfect move. While their characters ended on a typically Filipino movie ending, there was a commendable attempt to make both these characters that of a 2014 version of Kenji and Athena from 1994 and while a number of book fans criticized this change, I consider this a genius move.


While this could be the best movie of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla based on their performances as actors, removing them completely from the story, “She’s Dating the Gangster” might be one of those movies you might not remember after a while.

Yet once again, this is a movie from Carmi Raymundo like her “Bride for Rent” which banked on something we already know, forgot to tell us something new, and both ended on a moment in characters' lives we expected from the start. But, on the other hand, since this is a book adaptation from a Wattpad novel, can we completely blame her?

If you can’t afford not to feel the kilig of Kathniel or CharDawn loveteams on the big screen, this might be something you’d consider watching. Rest assured, you’ll enjoy their moments as their lips move an inch closer and closer to each other’s.

Movie Rating: 2.5/5


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