Keys to the Heart (2023) Review – A heartfelt remake

By Amanda Guarragi
Published: October 4, 2023
Keys to the Heart (2023) Review - A heartfelt remake


A heartfelt and sweet family dramedy that reconnects family members during a difficult time in their lives.

When children become adults, they bond with their parents differently. It’s almost as if the age difference isn’t there, and you’re co-existing as adults who are going through similar issues. The film Keys to the Heart (2023) is a Filipino remake of the original Korean film of the same name, streaming on Netflix. That film came out in 2018 and was directed by Choi Seong-hyeon. This film was about a washed-up boxer who reunites with his estranged brother, a pianist with savant syndrome.

This remake follows the same storyline, but it was changed a bit to have a wonderful role for Dolly De Leon. Director Kerwin Go made this a more emotional film because of the presence of the mother in her son’s life. Even though it does touch upon some serious subject matter, the film is still light and fun because of the character dynamics within the family.

Life can have many ups and downs. The majority of the time, it’s mothers who tend to keep their family together despite what they may be going through. The older we get the more we realize how precious time can be, and why it’s important to stay connected with those who uplift and support you the most. The truth is, there isn’t a lot of time. Once children are old enough to understand the world and finally understand their parents, it’s almost too late.

Keys to the Heart Review and Plot Summary

People say that everything happens for a reason in life; that some people are destined to meet and that people walk into your life at the opportune moment. If you’re optimistic about the universe and the chips falling where they may when you least expect it, then you’ll appreciate Keys to the Heart. 

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Years can go by and they could be quiet for you, there won’t be any issues and life could go by swimmingly. Other years can be filled with terrible news and losses that you can’t quite believe would happen all at once. This is also speaking from personal experience. You don’t know when life is going to hit you with a new deck of cards. In this film, Sylvia (De Leon) is a single mother who has two sons, Joma and Jayjay. Sylvia has been living with her youngest son Jayjay for many years. Her older son Joma was never really in the picture.

Unfortunately, Sylvia had found out that she had been diagnosed with cancer. Jayjay suffered from autistic savant syndrome and couldn’t take care of himself while his mother was out doing chemo. Sylvia was very proud of Jayjay, who turned to music and became a talented pianist. The music had soothed him and he was ready to enter competitions because of how good he was. Even with Sylvia’s illness, she wanted to be there for her son and still get her treatment.

Sylvia tried to look for people to take care of Jayjay while she went to chemo, but no one was available. She turned to her last resort, her son Joma. She had to search for him on Facebook and reconnect with him to see if he wanted to be part of the family. It’s hard for someone to re-enter a family you don’t really know after a lifetime apart. Life can be so different and that’s what Joma had to try and adjust to.

A worthwhile remake

The reason why Keys to the Heart is a worthwhile remake is because of the story. Even the original had a great story between brothers, but the addition of the mother and reconnecting with family made this stronger. Joma had to adapt to a different life. He was rough around the edges because of the way he was raised, so to head back into a family that didn’t want him in the first place can be damaging.

There are many opportunities for Joma to speak to his mother and start fresh with the little time they have left. It’s interesting to see their dynamic shift throughout based on his connection with his brother Jayjay. Small things can change a person and after Joma was thrown out of his gym, he definitely needed a new direction. There’s nothing wrong with starting a new path and building a new support system in the middle of your life.

Sylvia is battling for her life and that is what she teaches both of her sons at the end of the day. No matter what happens in life, there is always room for growth and to start over. You can push through and still be able to achieve the goals you want even through the hardships that may come your way.

What did you think of Keys to the Heart (2023)? Comment below.

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