Director: Jean Yeo Lay Kuan
Cast: Wong Li Lin, Ananda Everingham, Joan
Chen, Qi Yu Wu, Tracy Tan, Sylvester Loo, Vernetta Lopez,
Nadya Hutagalung, Paula Malai Ali, Allan Wu, Jason Chan Keng-Kwin
Runtime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: GV/Mediacorp Raintree Pictures
Official Website: http://www.mediacorpraintree.com/TLY/
Day: 29 February 2008
Some years ago, while conducting an English language workshop
on a hot, dreary afternoon for a large group of students in
Singapore, I suddenly felt sorry for them, and decided to
tell them a story. It was a romantic love story calculated
to make any sixteen-year-old sit up and listen with full attention.
I told them about a young Singaporean girl who unexpectedly
meets her dream man on a special day - 29 February 1988 -
when a quaint old Leap Year custom allows women to make the
first move in a romantic encounter. Our heroine does precisely
that. Hereafter she and the dream man, both exceptionally
attractive and brimming with life's hopes and dreams, are
caught in a dizzying spin of events that Fate seems to like
visiting upon young lovers. "You will come together at
last. But not yet, not yet," says Fate mischievously.
lovers meet every 29 February over 12 years, in breathless
negotiations of the many pitfalls along the path of true love
which has never run smooth anyway, before their hopes are
finally fulfilled in a spectacular millennial culmination
worthy of love's loftiest dreams.
Beyond the flowery language in love letters as appropriated
by Catherine Lim in her short story, The Leap of Love serves
as a cautionary fable against the lack of communication in
a relationship, a stark show-up against the more romantic
notion of a je ne sais quoi emotive connection between two
strangers. Romantics would moon over the long tortuous wait
shared by the lovebirds while pragmatists would pen it down
as 12 years lost in prime marriage years.
on The Leap Years actually started on this project in 2005,
but it would be a shame not to open a movie about leap years
on a leap year. Holding back the movie did not weaken the
movie significantly: Wong Li-lin is going to always look this
good, and Qi Yuwu was not emoting better here than in 881.
I have no idea why Ananda was chosen for his role, and I bet
he still doesn't as well. More importantly, Joan Chen is criminally
wasted in this movie. Coming off a Golden Horse award this
year, the lady must be wondering why she accepted her role
in this movie in the first place.
audience would also wonder why Li-lin was so hard-up on Ananda
in the first place, and if the script had managed to work
in more of the motivations/connection between Li-lin and Ananda
in loving each other at first sight, this would be a truly
special date movie.
said, The Leap Years is one of the very few Singaporean movies
that deals with the banal and not local ah beng culture, traditional
customs or Jack Neo slapstick. It is a sign of maturation
in local cinema when easy themes at hand are exhausted and
somebody finally reached out for something global. I hope
the writers credited are Singaporeans with English surnames.
Hey, the story originated from Singapore's very own Catherine
Leap Years was evenly-shot with unobtrusive editing, although
I do not understand why the hospital scenes are uniformly
over-exposed and grainy. The movie also boosted of a capable
supporting cast, though I wish I have two Eurasian friends
like Wong Li-lin in the movie. Jason Chen, of Power Rangers
DinoThunder fame, turned in a credible performance as Raymond,
i-lin's almost-husband. Kudos too, to Vernetta Lopez's minor
stony lesbian character: finally gay themes are broached,
albeit superficially, without resorting to in-your-face nude
men wrangling and screaming.
(This movie could be the clincher in a date or a waste of
time, depending on which side of life you live on)
Review by Tyler Lim