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FOREVER (Singapore)


Director: Wee Li Lin
Cast: Mo Tzu Yi, Joanna Dong, Sarah Ng Li-Wen, Teo Kiat Sing, Alice Lim
RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.foreverthemovie.com.sg/

Opening Day: 3 March 2011


Since she became a flower girl at the age of eight, JOEY has been in love with the idea of finding that special man and being his bride. So much so that she got a job as a video consultant at the Wedding Education Department (W.E.D.). There, Joey shares the art of getting and marrying a man, through her romantic 'faux' wedding videos, which are screened to young singles all over Singapore. But the idea of fantasy and reality are blurred as Joey falls madly in love with GIN, a handsome music teacher from Taiwan. They appear together as bride and groom in a landmark W.E.D video that will serve as a prelude to their upcoming nuptials.

But soon her bubble is burst. A beautiful girl, CECILIA, claims to be Gin's real fiancée while Gin claims that his affection for her was strictly for the video. Not letting her childhood dream go, Joey pursues Gin to make him see that she is his true bride as she sees his true heart. As her work mates, family and Gin begin to find out who she really is, will Joey's relentless drive to restore the happiness and joy she once knew also be her ultimate failing and undoing?

Movie Review:

As cutesy as the movie poster may be, this local film is not a romantic comedy.

Sure, there were many occasions which we chuckled in amusement, but upon walking out of the theatres after the film’s end credits rolled, we thought to ourselves: “What was going on in the mind of director Wee Li Lin?”

The Mandarin language film tells the story of a young girl who works in a government supported organisation which educates Singaporeans on the merits of getting hitched. Aptly named Wedding Education Department (W.E.D. – get it?), this organisation holds tea parties and screens promo videos to encourage couples to get married. Our protagonist is the one in charge of producing these beautiful clips, and before anyone knows it, she is compulsively in love with the leading man of one of her well received videos.

The twist? The leading man is getting married to another girl soon, but nothing will stop our heroine from wanting to play bride and groom with the dashing guy. The consequences? Disturbing.

This is a surprisingly dark piece of work, considering the lush, bright and cheery colours which almost stung our eyes during the movie’s 89 minute runtime. Gerald Stahlmann’s cinematography is an intricate and lovingly planned series of visuals which transport you to the endless realms of cinema’s sights and sounds. This is complemented by Charles Lim’s elaborate art direction, which serves the tale of fixation and obsession fittingly.

It is a good thing, actually, that Wee’s second feature film is not one of those generic romantic comedies which viewers could predict the ending 15 minutes into the movie – forgettable flicks like that would have put us to sleep. Through dramatisation, the traits and characteristics displayed by the protagonist is probably Wee’s take on how this little island has contorted our lives into something rather, for the lack of a better word, warped. Like many other Singapore made movies, there are also some clever jibes and pokes in the film which local viewers can identify with.

It comes as no surprise that Wee is tackling with this rather unconventional theme, with her last film Gone Shopping (2007) dealing with the heavy topic of urban alienation. With a quirky and offbeat script co written with Silvia Wong, viewers are allowed to stretch their imaginations and venture into the psyche of a girl whose fascination takes her to a place which many would deem disturbing. Never falling into the predictable glum and grim, there is always something in the screenplay which will make you sit up and watch - that’s what makes this homegrown filmmaker’s works gems.

A familiar face in theatre and musical productions, Joanna Dong takes on the role of Joey, the fanatical and infatuated protagonist. With her petite frame, Dong manages to command screen presence, with her somewhat disquieting glances and glares. Her performance brings to mind the stalker Audrey Tautou played in He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (2002) and the bold lover Marion Cotillard played in Love Me If You Dare (2003). Dong’s co star Mo Tzu Yi puts his good looks to use, emoting at the right moments and complementing his partner’s showier performance. Supporting actors like Sarah Ng, Alice Lim and Kenny Gee fare well too, and cameos by some of Singapore’s most well known personalities add a touch of fun to the film.

Who would have thought? Something as wacky and out of the ordinary as this would come so highly recommended. Never mind the film ends on a somewhat rushed note – you just need to ditch those perceptions about a conventional love story, and go for a ride with this alternative fairy tale.

Movie Rating:

(An unconventional and remarkably bizarre love story which challenges your senses)

Review by John Li


. Taipei Exchanges (2010)

. Hear Me (2009)

. L-O-V-E (2009)

. All About Women (2008)

. Gone Shopping (2007)

. Cape No. 7 (2008)

. Secret (2007)

. Island Etude (2006)

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