Started in 2007 to keep a track of gay films that I watched, this blog has come much further than I had planned. There are tons of movies that I need to watch and review here. Through this blog, I want to give you genuine, my personal heart-felt review of the films that I see. These are my personal thoughts and opinions about the films and I would love to hear your thoughts on these films as well. I always reply to comments in a day or two. Please help me make my blog more popular by becoming a member, following it and by recommending it to your friends. As far as I know this is one of the very very few gay movie review blogs where reviews are not linked or copy-paste imdb summary. Enjoy and do keep writing your feedback.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Dear Ex (Mandarin)

On the surface, this film seems like yet another film about conflicts. But this is so much more than that. It is a dark comedy, an emotional roller coaster, where things are not really black and white. Given the nature of the story, you will struggle to take sides. You are supposed to, given that nature of the film, but you will be able to appreciate why the individuals did what they did. In fact, this is a very very emotional film about love. It talked about boundary between hate and fear. By the end of it, I had a lump in my throat by the overall story line and how beautifully and emotionally some of the scenes were handled with the dignity they deserved.

Liu is angry and bitter that her husband left her and their son for another man Jay. Now that he is dead, she finds out that Jay is the beneficiary of his insurance money and demands that he return that money for her son's future. Jay is a young hippy-ish man who is spending his time attempting to direct what appears to be a poor quality play. In between the two is stuck Song, who is angry and frustrated with his mother for being angry, resentful frustrated over everything around her. He finds himself leaving home in a fit of anger and comes to live with Jay, who clearly doesn't want him. But neither Jay nor Liu can do anything about him. Song keeps reminding himself that jay is a bad man, but then he is the only one who he can stay with since he doesn't want to be with his mother. He thinks that all she cares about is money. In between all this, we see glimpses of flashbacks of everyone's lives, which are no longer than a couple of minutes each, which help us come closer to every character, including Zhengyuan who binds all these characters. Unhappy about the situation around them, the three characters eventually begin to manage to come to terms if not with their own grief then at least by the end of the film they have a better understanding of each other’s.

The film is about pain, and it can be painful to watch it at times. It is from the point of view of the kid. As I said above, you think this is gonna be one of those silly over-the-top films but by the end of it it is such a rewarding film that isn’t afraid to feel its feelings and grapple with what they mean. All three characters start as one-dimensional and the way it is shown on the screen, you are put off by the mother's character. She is over-bearing and frustrated but we slowly understand that how this bitterness started. And Jay is more like a hippie who has no money and for some inexplicable reasons wants to run this play at any cost. Jay and Liu bicker and antagonize each other, both jilted by the same lover, but the two need an outlet for their anger. Jay's character is the one who get to know eventually towards the end. You want to blame him for stealing a woman's husband, but through flashbacks you get to know the realities. You find out that Zhengyuan and Jay were lovers long before he married Lui but, struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, Zhengyuan  leaves to try and live a “normal life”. When he becomes ill he leaves his family to spend his last days with his true love Jay. Zhengyuan's death happens so sudden that he never has time to grief for it. Its only when he finally presents the play that the wife realizes about his true love and how finally on the 100th day of his death, through his play, Jay is giving his final goodbye. There are many more emotional scenes like this. One other scene that stood out for me was when Zhengyuan tells Liu about him being gay. The performances are all outstanding from every single person. The cast each do a wonderful job of showing themselves before and after grief and all of them. This is a Netflix release and I hope more and more people get to see this film.

There is so much I wanna write about this film and all the memories of watching it are coming back. This film is a lot more than drama, comedy, coming out genres. Its a complete package about emotions, love, sacrifices. Love can never be wrong. People may be. It is a tale of two ill-fated loves, treated with immense pathos. A strange, mutual sympathy for the grief of losing the same man, in ways both very different and very similar. (8.5/10)


Luigi C said...

Happily an Asiatic film not at all " asiatic"! You know what I mean : the timing is not stressing and umbereable slow , the story comes to a reasonable understanding . And the acting is at the top. A very pleasant movie , worth to see and rewatch.

Golu said...

Exactly my point! Asian films can be a hit or miss with their pace but this was such a fantastic film. I have been recommending it to even my straight friends.