Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The Stars: Mo Tzu Yi, Joanna Dong, Sarah Ng Li-Wen
The Story: Joey is a video consultant at the Wedding Education Department (WED), where she produces fictional marriage videos designed to convince young singles all over Singapore to take the matrimonial leap. Her romanticism doesn’t just extend to her work however – Joey has been obsessed with finding the perfect man since she was a little girl.
After filming a wedding video with Gin, a handsome aspiring musician from Taiwan, she confuses his onscreen affections for actual flirtations. She becomes convinced that they are indeed engaged, so much so that she brags to colleagues and friends of their impending nuptials. As she stalks the bewildered Gin in her quest for true love, things get very complicated when his real-life fiancée, Cecelia, catches on.
The Buzz:Forever is a local Mandarin-language romantic comedy that is partly financed by the Singapore Film Commission. Its director, Wee Li Lin, was an acclaimed short filmmaker who’s received numerous accolades including the Best Director gong at the 1997 Singapore International Film Festival for her first short Norman On The Air. Her 2008 feature debut Gone Shopping went on to compete for the New Talents award at the 11th Shanghai International Film Festival.
inSing says: Not to sound unpatriotic but it’s awfully rare to find local features that are daring, fresh or doesn’t simply pander to the lowest common denominator. Outside little-seen indie shorts and the theatre scene, creativity is stifled (for a variety of reasons, but that’s book-length essay for another time) so it’s invigorating to see something as unparagoned as Wee Li Lin’s and (co-writer, producer) Silvia Wong’s Forever come around.
Li Lin and Silvia have crafted a darkly comic rom-com that seems intent on subverting our idea of marriage. Not that it’s anti-matrimony per se, but Joey’s relentless romance-neuroses seems to skewer the expectations and pressure of plunging into of wedded bliss rather than the institution itself. The commentary is a little too pronounced but it is handled with such riotous hilarity that’s one forgives the occasional instances of heavy-handedness.
Joey is such a deluded and downright batty protagonist that it’s sometimes hard to sympathise with her. Massive credit must be given to Joanna Dong for imbuing Joey with enough sweetness and misguided innocence to make the character not seem, well, cuckoo as cocoa puffs. Taiwanese star Mo Tzu Yin and Sarah Ng Li-Wen (making a great screen debut) also carry themselves believably as Gin and Cecelia respectively.
Forever takes its lead’s unstable obsessions to increasingly unnerving heights, and many times you’re uncomfortable with Joey’s schemes, because poor Gin is just trying to keep it together while Cecelia essentially hasn’t done anything wrong (besides being a tad high-maintenance). Nevertheless, the situations conjured are so dark, funny and charming, when seen through Joey’s warped bifocals that you’ll be rooting for her, even when she’s at her creepiest.
Hidzir Junaini, aka inSing.com's Movie Lover, is 24-years-old and a wealthy playboy billionaire by day and a caped crusader by night. Only one of those is true. He’s actually a freelance writer, blogger, full-time film buff and some-time socially awkward nerd. He also writes about music, restaurants and nightlife for Metrowize Asia. Hidzir is the winner of the inaugural inSing Movie Lover contest that garnered over 1,000 participants. The Movie Lover contest is a search for a candidate who possesses outstanding passion for movies and a talent for writing engaging movie reviews.