In Mandarin with English & Chinese subtitle
Director: Leehom Wang
Cast: Leehom Wang, Liu Yifei, Joan Chen, Chen
Handian, Khalil Fong
RunTime: 1 hr 39 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Opening Day: 12 August 2010
famous from an incredibly young age, Du Ming Han has only
ever known a celebrity pop star existence. Yet, despite all
the perks and glamour, there is still something lacking in
his charmed life: true love. Refusing to give up in his search,
with the help of fellow musician and friend Wei Zhi Bo, DMH
disguised as a regular Joe in hope to find true love.
incognito, DMH and WZB stumble across the performance of a
classical Chinese orchestra and DMH is immediately captivated
by the melodies of the guzheng soloist, Liu Mei Qing,a classical
music student at the Shanghai Conservatory, whose affections
lie with the accomplished, if not arrogant, conservatory virtuoso,Zhu
Xue Zhang. DMH nevertheless promises to help bring them together,
determined to spend more time with LMQ.
DMH’s distraction from his superstar responsibilities
does not go unnoticed by Agent Joan. As he and LQM grow closer,
it becomes increasingly difficult to conceal his identity.
What happens if she finds out who he really is? Can she really
love and respect a celebrity pop star? And can she forgive
him for lying?
"Don’t expect too much from a musician turned
director’s movie." Oh really? Then here’s
your remedy for the cynicism.
Love in disguise is Leehom’s first attempt at directing
a movie. Prior to this movie direction, his only experience
is directing his own music videos, which are of a totally
different league and agenda as this rom-com. And though his
experience in the field of acting is rather bare, he has actually
succeeded in delivering this movie.
First, the cast has won over some attention. Well, Leehom
being the lead actor, give some assurances to the box office
ticket sales. Apart from that, we see that the actors and
actresses in this cast list are rather diverse. Diverse as
it is, it has its advantage as it offers a bountiful and colourful
rendition of fun and comedic characters, which is pertinent
in this movie. Though many people are largely unfamiliar with
the cast list, you may spot a few familiar faces like Taiwanese
comedian-host Chen Handian and the special appearance of Hong
Kong singer-songwriter Khalil Fong. Also, watch out for China-born
American Liu Yi Fei, who pulled off a noteworthy act of the
The main plot in this movie is probably somewhat familiar;
it’s a star’s over-glamorised life. As confessed
by Leehom himself, he got the idea from observations and his
own experience in the entertainment industry. Much of it is
really exaggerating, from the dogmatic manager Joan-jie to
the ‘abstract’ and ‘artistic’ fashion
designer who helped them with the disguise. Even a star’s
expected protocol towards gossips and tabloid news are dramatized
in the same fashion. However, all these are built on that
fraction of reality, and are but an attempt to reflect the
ugly truth in the entertainment industry in a non-intimidating
manner. In fact, its brilliance is in that and brings about
high entertainment value. The introduction and context setting,
then the arrangement of the sequence of events were well thought
through. This is owing to the efforts of perfectionist Leehom,
who consulted many other scriptwriters, and amended at least
53 times before this finalized one.
So as boy meets girl, boy is confused with how he feels and
then finally realizes that he is in love… so on and
so forth, are also presented in a relatively new manner. Like
how boy encounters his soul mate in music, through music.
It sort of perpetuates the idea that music has no boundary,
and in fact connects people. These are also coupled with delicate
and brilliant illustrations, which reflect the boy’s
visions when immersed in the realm of music. Though the visions
can be abstract at times, they are very engaging and entertain
the viewers. Also, the illustrations have a good balance between
traditional and contemporary elements. In particular, the
traditional Chinese ink and wash drawings combined with the
classical Chinese music were efficient in accentuating the
mood. Other special effects though amateur, are sufficiently
enough to lead viewers to feel for the characters, whether
happy or sad.
Music is considerably one of the most important elements in
this movie. Its role is different from music in Broadway musicals,
nor is it the same as music in dance movies. Music in this
case tells us a story vividly. Because the characters are
not able to encounter each other face to face, they use music
(and lyrics) as a channel to convey their feelings and messages.
The thoughtful lyrics coupled with soothing music, is a definite
spot on. Moreover, it has highlighted the long forgotten beauty
of classical Chinese music.
Enduring the 6 month long of shooting in cold Shanghai definitely
paid off. Uncluttered, unsophisticated, this is a movie that
turned out really right. The humble lad credits directors
like Jackie Chan and Ang Lee, who he had worked with in previous
productions as he picked up invaluable directing skills from
them. It is justifiable that he is confident that this movie
will sell. Drop the cynicism; be impressed by this lad.
(Are you ready to find that *one* soul mate that knows
you just as you are, and makes you the best you could be?
Let Leehom show you how)
Review by Tho Shu Ling