Director: Chen Yu-hsun
Cast: Liu Kuan-ting, Patty Lee, Duncan Lai
Runtime: 2 hrs
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 12 November 2020
Synopsis: Hsiao-chi (Patty Lee) is a young woman who always rushes and gets things done quickly. However, she has made no progress in her love life and remains single in her late twenties. Every day, Hsiao-chi repeats the same work at the counter in the post office. Amongst all sorts of customers who Hsiao-chi has to deal with is a bus driver called Tai (Liu Kuan-ting); Tai is as slow as a sloth and comes to Hsiao-chi in the post office to send a letter by ordinary delivery every day. Longing for a romance, Hsiao-chi cannot believe that handsome Wenson (Duncan Chou) chats her up and asks her out. As Valentine’s Day is approaching, Hsiao-chi looks so much forward to going on a date she has dreamt of, but to her astonishment, Valentine’s Day has disappeared when she wakes up from sleep!
It is easy to see why Taiwanese filmmaker Chen Yu Hsun’s latest work is a crowd favourite. The comedy drama features quirky characters (a girl who reacts to everything faster than others, and a boy who reacts to everything slower than others), a delightful time warp storyline (a girl who has seemingly lost a day in her life, and a boy who seemingly gained a day in his life), likeable leads (Patty Lee and Liu Kuan Ting deliver winsome performances) and last but not least, a bittersweet romance (will the two protagonists get the happy ending they deserve?)
The movie’s Chinese title means “The Missing Valentine’s Day”. The film starts off by presenting one perspective and through the clever removal of one Chinese character, presents the first segment as “The Missing Person”. The second portion of the movie is seen through the eyes of another character, and again, through a clever word play of the Chinese movie title, we see the story of “The Missing Storyline”.
Without giving away too much, the movie follows the lives of a young woman who works in a post office. She is making no progress in her love life despite being fast in everything. A dashing fitness coach appears in her life and it seems like love will blossom between the two, as they agree to take part in a Valentine’s Day relay. Elsewhere, there is a young man who repeatedly appears in the post office to sends letters. He carries a camera and one wonders why he doesn’t just drop his letters in a postal box.
Things get interesting with the titular missing Valentine’s Day, strange sunburns, a bashed up face and a mysterious photo taken by a beach.
The 120 minute movie engages you from start to finish, as the story unravels in a fantasy like manner. Lighthearted and easy to watch, the film also gets in touch with your emotions to think about all the possible relationships you might have lost and gained in your life. You’d be smiling when a whimsical song titled “Lost and Found” plays over the film’s end credits after two hours.
While Lee is not your usual gorgeous female lead, she is adorable for this role. When the character calls in to her favourite radio show to talk about how she may have finally found the love of her life in a handsome man (you can tell Duncan Chou is going to be douche bag the moment he appears on screen), you want to root for this girl.
Liu, who has been appearing in many well received Taiwanese movies (Silent Forest, Classmate Minus) after his win in the Best Supporting Actor category (for his performance in A Sun) at last year’s Golden Horse Awards, is perfect as the guy you’d want to rely on. When the story reveals why his character has been religiously appearing at the post office, you’d want this dude to be your best buddy.
Chen, who gained recognition for his 1995 comedy drama Tropical Fish, has helmed other charming titles like Zone Pro Site (2013) and The Forgotten Village (2017) which leave viewers reflecting on larger issues than the apparent laughs and entertainment from the movies. With this film which has garnered 11 nominations at the 57th Golden Horse Awards, Chen has delivered another commercially and critically successful hit.
(A delightful comedy drama that will win you with its affectionate charm)
Review by John Li