Keys to the Heart (2023) review: Tearjerker becomes cheesy by the end

In Keys to the Heart, Joma moves in with his mother, Sylvia, and autistic brother, Jayjay. Sylvia sees this as a chance to heal past wounds and make up with Joma. The movie is now streaming on Netflix.


Sylvia is living with her autistic son, Jayjay, who is a talented pianist and has a chance of participating in and winning a prestigious piano competition. However, Sylvia knows how Jayjay reacts to crowds.

She supports her son’s passion, but at the moment, she has a lot on her plate. Sylvia will be going away for a month and needs someone to look after her son while she is gone.

Sylvia is introduced to social media, and a quick search sees her finding her long-lost son, Joma, a former boxer, looking for a job and a place to live. Joma despises Sylvia for abandoning him when he was just a kid.

After an unexpected car accident, Joma is left with no choice but to move in with Sylvia and Jayjay. The question remains whether this experience will bring the family together or tear them apart further.


Zanjoe Marudo, as Joma, Elijah Canlas, as Jayjay, and Dolly De Leon, as Sylvia, have great chemistry together. They manage to look like a broken family that is in the process of mending the differences.

Marudo swiftly transitions from being someone who is unbothered by the lives of Sylvia and Jayjay to being a big brother to Jayjay. Elijah Canlas, as Jayjay, promises some touching scenes, while Dolly De Leon, at the center, effectively shows the desperation of a mother who wants to keep her children happy.


Keys to the Heart (2023) successfully creates the melodrama it intends to with its plot, which is filled with characters who all have emotional baggage or a struggle of their own, even minor characters such as Annette. The situation of each character hits right and makes viewers care for them.

The film takes minor steps into rebuilding the relationship between Joma and Sylvia and forming the brotherly bond between Joma and Jayjay. There are some little adventures that the characters go on, which are equally entertaining and emotional and serve as stepping stones for what is to come.

Clearly, this relationship that gets built toward the end is the heart of the film. The journey also makes minor characters like Annette, Apple, and Ver likable and enjoyable. At the same time, viewers will love hating characters such as Elimar Gacho and Cesar.

Most importantly, the film stays true to its message, which has been given through a quote by Manny Pacquiao, a former boxer from the Philippines.


Keys to the Heart (2023) loses its magic after successfully establishing the much-needed connection between Joma, Sylvia, and Jayjay. From that point on, what is served is mostly predictable and cheesy, even if it manages to make the viewers shed a tear.


Keys to the Heart (2023) certainly had the potential to be a tearjerker. It has the right recipe for it, but the second half doesn’t get it right, as it relies on the old tricks of the genre. One can still enjoy the film if they can get past all the cheesy moments of the second half.

Keys to the Heart (2023)
Keys to the Heart (2023) review: Tearjerker becomes cheesy by the end 1

Director: Kerwin Go

Date Created: 2023-10-04 12:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Keys to the Heart (2023) summary and ending explained

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