“Expectation: VIOLATED!”

The Spring Film Festival broke my expectations when it comes to Chinese Films. When I have heard of this film fest, it didn’t give me that hype of an upcoming Jackie Chan’s movie. I thought it was a marathon of old Chinese movies coz hey, it’s for free! But this Book of Love a.k.a Finding Mr. Right 2 broke that mindset that I have when it comes to Chinese films. The plot is generic having that touch of happily ever after, two strangers with totally different circumstances and status in life who, ate the end, will eventually meet, not a story that everyone will get excited to watch. But,  Xue Xiaolu, the director and writer of the Book of Love was able to play with my emotions through this film.

Tang Wei plays the role of Jiao Ye, a casino hostess who has been financially struggling due to the debt that his father owed for losing a gambling bet when she was a kid. This burden has haunted her to the point that she herself has been put to that same situation that his father had years ago.

Wu Xiubo, on the other hand, plays the character of Daniel Luo, a real estate broker in Los Angeles where his family had moved when he was a kid. Soon as they have migrated, his parents got divorced that caused him a callous heart, avoiding every intimate and close  emotional relationship.

While both of them are chasing the pursuits of their own hearts, destiny wondrously made Jiao and Daniel’s paths to meet. This book “94 Charing Cross Road”, written by Helene Haff took place in their lives and made them think that it brought them trouble. They wrote a letter to the address that is written in the book which happens to be its title. Mr. Thomas, the current land owner of the address, set them up by redirecting the mails they were sending to each other instead. From unfriendly exchange of conversations to a deeper kind of friendship despite the distance between them, each letter sent is an inch closer to each other’s heart. When Mr. Thomas died, their exchange of messages stopped because there’d be no one else to forward their mails but the old man. They began to feel the grief of not being able to talk to one another. On the other side, both of them were informed about the funeral and both went to London. Unfortunately they weren’t able to see each other for they do not know what the other looks like. Hopeless and ready to let go, they went  back to 94 Cross Road, leaving their messages in the hope of releasing that heavy feeling inside them. There, they finally met with each other’s perspective of what the other looks like and expectations were violated.

Cliche, but the inside stories gave the story a variety of flavor. The story of grandma and grandpa for one. Their story gave a touch of comedy and drama, showing Daniel what love really feels like. The undying love of the old couple ministered to Daniel that made him seek after it as well.

Now, I’m not trying to be a critic here. There is just one in the movie that needs to be improved: the effects, specifically the first scene. It looks off to me, because it seemed to be like the Power Rangers. Sorry but, I don’t like Power Rangers (seriously tho). But the story is good, the way that Tang Wei and Wu Xiubo portrayed their respective characters is awesome. The inside stories are very heart warming. The shots, specifically the establishing shots showing the stunning city of Macau and Las Vegas, and the romantic view of London were amazing.

As a whole, it made me appreciate Chinese films all the more, not just Jackie’s films which are undeniably incredible. This ‘Book of Love’, being a sequel made me watch its part one, though it is not necessarily related. It made me look forward to the movies that will be presented next Spring Film Fest. Great job! – Andrea Claire Belen