Director: Grace Wu
Cast: Ya Hui, Ayden Sng, Xuan Ong, Henry Thia, Peter Yu, Doreen Toh, Regina Lim, Liow Shi Suen, Brian Ng, Jasmine Sim
Runtime: 1 hr 41 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Sexual References)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 12 May 2023
Synopsis: Aishi is a ghost who has been wandering in the world for 20 years until she accidentally occupies her brother’s body and embarks on a 7-day unbelievable journey.
Fans of Ya Hui and Ayden Sng rejoice, because the two popular TV stars have made their way to be big screen to headline this local production, which also had its world premiere by opening this year’s Singapore Chinese Film Festival. The celebrities don’t portray a couple though (Ya plays the eldest sister in the family, while Sng plays the youngest brother), so don’t expect them to share any romantic sequences together. What you’d get instead, is a heartfelt scene as their characters reflect how far they’ve come as a family, as regrets and secrets are revealed.
The movie has an interesting premise. We are introduced to Aishi (Xuan Ong), a ghost who has been wandering the world (in this case, Singapore) for the past 20 years. She makes friends with another ghost (Henry Thia), who has also been around because of unresolved family matters. In a twist of fate, Aishi occupies her brother’s (Sng) body and in the next seven days, she gets to find out how her family members are really doing. This includes her sister (Ya), as well as her parents (Peter Yu and Doreen Toh) who are not getting any younger as the years go by.
Director and writer Grace Wu, who was born in Chongqing, is the first Chinese director to shoot a movie produced in Singapore. Expectedly, the story includes flashbacks and viewers are given glimpses of what might have caused Aishi’s death. It’s nice that the movie isn’t exploitatively melodramatic, and there are comedy elements in the 101 minute movie. While the results are a mixed bag of laughs, it is still a welcome approach. The storytelling structure doesn’t work all the time, but the ensemble cast’s commendable performances make up for it.
As the lead character, Sng has enough charisma and screen presence. Playing a character whose body has been taken over by a young girl, he gets to display the softer side of his personality. Ya does a fine job portraying a career minded woman who has no time to take care of herself, and the vulnerabilities show. Ong’s bubbly persona and youthfulness is infectious, and we hope to see more of her on TV or film in the future. Maybe it’s how we are familiar with Thia’s on screen personality as a comedian, some of the sequences which require dramatic chops come across as funny instead of emotional. With his experience, Yu pulls off the character of a father effortlessly.
One notable aspect of the movie is how it sheds light on postnatal depression. Besides the abovementioned main characters, there is also a side plot featuring a woman who is managing her emotions while trying to grapple with her newborn, her busy husband and a somewhat overbearing mother in law. Played by Regina Lim and Brian Ng, the characters are relatable in today’s society and it is a nice inclusion in the movie for increased awareness about this pertinent issue.
This is a family friendly movie which has just the right amount of entertainment and social values to take away when the credits roll.
(A wholesome movie that will remind you to tell your family members how much you love them)
Review by John Li