MIFF 2011 Film Review: My Wedding and Other Secrets (2011)

5 Aug

By Michael De Martino

(Roseanne Liang, 2011, New Zealand, Comedy-Drama, 88 minutes)

A Chinese university student, Emily (played by the adorable Michelle Ang), lives in New Zealand and stumbles upon the love of her life, a fellow New Zealand-born student, James (Matt Whelan), but fears her family will not approve of their relationship due to their cultural differences.

The opening of My Wedding… is rather clunky. The lead actors try so hard to look like outcasts that they’re not entirely convincing. The relationship between Emily and James just sort of happens, and the cultural aspects forbidding the couple may be obvious to some, but a little more insight into Chinese culture could have answered a few questions instead of the assumed knowledge put onto the audience. Nevertheless, Ang is the one redeeming quality that keeps us engaged.

The script has a few hiccups. For the first two thirds of My Wedding… we are lead to believe it is the disapproving father who forbids their relationship. However, when Emily finally builds the courage to confront her father, we learn that the problem is actually with the mother, making the paranoia built up but the film almost pointless. In fact, all that is needed to satisfy the father is for James to learn how to propose in Mandarin – hardly the forbidden love of different cultures that the film initially makes itself out to be about.

Despite the mild clumsiness of the beginning, the film progressively improves from the characters being more defined, the characters being proactive about achieving their goals instead of hiding, and more believable acting. Towards the end Emily confronts her mother about living with James. This scene makes the entire film. It is perfectly written, amazingly acted by Ang, relevant and believable.

My Wedding… is an easy watch. It may not be the most original or revolutionary film you’ll see this year, but it will leave you with a soft smile on your face.

6/10

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