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LIST: 5 KathNiel movies that got us believing in love

By Marielle Filoteo Published Nov 30, 2023 10:19 pm Updated Nov 30, 2023 10:29 pm

Reel-to-real-life couple Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, also known as KathNiel, have just confirmed their breakup via separate Instagram posts. For many who followed the KathNiel pairing, it’s really heartbreaking to see the two part ways after 11 years.

From teleseryes to movies, they’ve been a staple loveteam in Philippine pop culture. If you’re a millennial or Gen-Z, you probably feel like you grew up with them, too.

As we reminisce about all the times we’ve felt joy from the two, let’s look back at all our favorite KathNiel movies that got us believing in love in the first place.

Must Be… Love (2013)

The first official movie of the KathNiel pairing

Must Be... Love is one of the most 2000s teeny-bopper Filipino rom-coms that you might have seen growing up, and probably got extra kilig at. It’s the kind of movie that is quite cliche, but the good kind. As a girl’s girl, sometimes, you just want to watch this kind of teeth-aching movie for the nostalgia and all the squeals you find yourself doing (sorry, neighbors!).

The film follows tomboy-ish teen Patricia (Kathryn), also known as Patchot, and her childhood best friend, Ivan (Daniel). They have known each other since they were kids. One day in a basketball game, Patchot finds herself realizing her feelings for Ivan. But problems arise when Patchot’s cousin Angel enters the picture and Ivan falls for her in an instant.

She’s Dating the Gangster (2014)

The breakthrough movie that made KathNiel what it is today

This is almost everyone’s favorite Filipino teen rom-com. Adapted from a popular Wattpad story by Bianca Bernardino and directed by the great Cathy Garcia-Molina, this is a movie that got many people lowkey wishing it happened to them because, yes, fake dating is the superior trope.

Set in the ‘90s, She’s Dating the Gangster tells the story of Athena Dizon (Kathryn), a kind-hearted, geeky student, who unwittingly finds herself pretending to be the girlfriend of the resident heartthrob and bad boy, Kenji de los Reyes (Daniel). While initially hatching up the scheme to make Kenji’s ex jealous, the pair finds themselves falling for each other in the process.

Crazy Beautiful You (2015)

The underrated KathNiel movie everyone needs to see

When you think about the duo’s filmography, Crazy Beautiful You is a movie that’s not often talked about in wide spaces but deserves its apples. Still keeping their roots while slowly trying different things, we see a whole new side to what we expect from the two. And, by that, we mean we see it as the movie where KathNiel switched roles. 

After yet another reckless antic that winds her up in jail, rebellious teen Jackie (Kathryn) gets sent off to tag along with her mom on a medical mission in Tarlac. There, she meets the humble probinsyano Kiko (Daniel) who shows her another side of life. 

Barcelona: A Love Untold (2016)

The breakaway KathNiel movie to more mature roles

Awarded Best Picture at the 65th FAMAS Awards in 2017, Barcelona: A Love Untold is the kind of KathNiel movie where we truly see their acting capabilities. At this point, we’ve only seen the pair through a rom-com lens and brief moments of drama in between all of that. But, in this film, we see them face more dramatic life themes that got our chests aching.

Set in Barcelona, Ely (Daniel), who can’t get over his past love, meets Mia (Kathryn), who’s trying to escape her past and rebuild her life in Spain. In their journey to self-redemption, Ely and Mia find comfort in each other and discover that moving forward is much more important than anything that has happened before.

The Hows of Us (2018)

The last time we saw KathNiel on the big screen together

Of all the movies we’ve all watched of the pair, The Hows of Us remains the most mature and raw we’ve seen of them as they face more "adult" situations, plan the future together, and find themselves at a crossroads as they come of age. It’s a must-watch for any 20-something young adults in that transition period of life.

The Hows of Us follows a young couple, Primo (Daniel) and George (Kathryn), who dream of getting old together. But in the process, they realize the harsh reality of what growing up together really means. With George aspiring to be a doctor and Primo hellbent on pursuing music, they soon find that their fairytale love story isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.