Review: ‘Third World Romance,’ starring Charlie Dizon and Carlo Aquino

August 31, 2023

by Carla Hay

Carlo Aquino and Charlie Dizon in “Third World Romance” (Photo courtesy of Anima Studios)

“Third World Romance”

Directed by Dwein Baltazar

Tagalog with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in the Philippines, the dramatic film “Third World Romance” has an all-Filipino cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A cashier and a bagger, who work at the same grocery store, fall in love with each other and navigate problems at their job and in their relationship.

Culture Audience: “Third World Romance” will appeal primarily to viewers who are fans of the romantic dramas about young people.

Carlo Aquino and Charlie Dizon in “Third World Romance” (Photo courtesy of Anima Studios)

“Third World Romance” has a lot of familiar plot developments in this story of two young people who fall in love with each other. The story, just like the two protagonists, can be bland, but there’s enough sweetness and charm to keep viewers interested.

Directed by Dwein Baltazar (who co-wrote the “Third World Romance” screenplay with Jericho Aguado), “Third World Romance” takes place in an unnamed city in the Philippines. At a grocery store, outspoken cashier Britney “Bree” Gatmaitan (played by Charlie Dizon) and mild-mannered bagger Alvin Tolentino (played by Carlo Aquino) start of as platonic co-workers, but they begin dating and eventually fall in love.

Britney is very unhappy about the low pay and lack of health care benefits that most of the store’s employees are forced to tolerate. The store’s horrible boss Sir Dodong (played Archi Adamos) doesn’t care and treats his subordinates with disrespect. Britney wants to do something about employee rights at the store, but Alvin disagrees and thinks that Britney shouldn’t cause trouble.

Britney and Alvin, who are both in their early 20s, have very different living situations from each other. Alvin’s roommates are mostly from the LGBTQ community, including a transgender woman. Britney lives alone because her mother has left to live in Oman and expects Britney to eventually join her there.

“Third World Romance” follows the relationship between Britney and Alvin through its ups and downs, which are somewhat predictable in movies of this genre. However, Aquino and Dizon have believable chemistry together. And all of the cast members give good performances that carry the film when the plot starts going in expected directions.

Anima Studios released “Third World Romance” in select U.S. cinemas on August 25, 2023.

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