Third World Happy

Verdict: Value for Money

Pinoy Rebyu Score: 3.54 (11 ratings)

Genre: Drama

Writer/Director: EJ Salcedo

Cast: Sam Milby, Jodi Sta. Maria, Archie Adamos, Archie Alemania, Geraldine Tan, Melissa Mendez, Richard Quan

Synopsis: A struggling Filipino artist living in New York returns to the country after a death in the family. Back home, he struggles to reconnect with the past he left behind, all the while slowly coming to grips with the tragedy that’s entered his life.

Running time: 90 mins.





5.0          Cathy Peña (Make Me Blush)

“Stripped off his matinee idol countenance and those cumbersome teleserye lines, Milby carries an understated elegance as an intuitive performer. He has an immersive style that allows him a very consistent characterization. He’s even more effective in his silent moments, the way he exploits the facility of the eyes to express emotion.” (Read full review)

4.0          Nel Costales (The Persistence of Vision)

Third World Happy is the best Sam Milby film I’ve seen yet. The acting ensemble, the direction, and the screenplay are all superb. The dashing actor still speaks in an American accent but this time it fits his character Wesley Tecson, a gifted painter based in the USA who comes back to the Philippines because of the death of a loved one.” (Read full review)

4.0          Ihcahieh

“There is an awkward silence lingering throughout the movie, which somehow effectively captures not just the atmosphere of being in a wake, but also the state of mind of the protagonist.” (Read full review)

3.5          Ria Limjap (

“But the one to watch is really Jodi Sta. Maria, who plays Wesley’s long suffering ex girlfriend. While she’s not classically beautiful or even conventionally ‘hot’ like other young actresses, Jodi Sta. Maria’s talent sets her apart. She’s like a young Vilma Santos, extremely easy to watch on screen, emotionally translucent, strangely magnetic and accessible at the same time.” (Read full review)

3.5          Julien Merced Matabuena (Manila Bulletin)

“Despite the weight of (and the angst surrounding) the subject, though, Third World Happy is a heartwarming movie on the whole. The ending might be typical of Pinoy films, where everything gets resolved, but it did stay true to what actually happens in real life–wherein people actually move on with their lives without the need for any truly happy or reconciliatory ending.” (Read full review)

3.0          Philbert Dy (Click the City)

“On the outset, the film tries to tell a low-key personal story about regret and remembrance from the perspective of someone who left the country behind. But the film doesn’t quite trust the small fireworks of the story and buffers the silence with a large Hollywood style twist and plenty of too-clever dialogue. But even in its moments of doubt, the film reveals a heart that’s really trying to grasp at some truths, and that always makes for interesting viewing.” (Read full review)

3.0          Fidel Antonio Medel (PEP)

“Third World Happy is a work of restraint. It could have easily opted to fill its scenes with cheesy and overly sappy lines, but it veered away from unnecessary sentimentality. Unlike other dramas, it leaves the audience trying to figure out what really happened.” (Read full review)

3.0          Pinoy Movie Reviews

“Unfortunately some portions of the movie were a little too drawn out. The movie’s shots were well-composed but a few shots lasted far longer than they should have. I felt the director was over-emphasizing some shots for effect and to invoke emotion, when in reality the acting, particular that from Jodi Sta. Maria, was superb enough to do that on its own. (Read full review)

2.0          Mario Bautista (Showbiz Portal)

“Sa totoo lang, itong klase ng ganitong material can be done in a TV show like Maalaala Mo Kaya, not as an indie film, and considering their track record, we think the resident writers and directors of MMK would have done a better job with it than what writer-director EJ Salcedo did para sa pelikulang ito.” (Read full review)


4.0          Lyndon Maburaot (Cinephiles)

“I liked its mood and introspection.”

4.0          Manuel Pangaruy (Cinephiles)

“Best Sam Milby movie. Balikbayan talaga ang gumawa.”


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