Dear Ex 誰先愛上他的 (2018) - Taiwan
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
Netflix’ original “Dear Ex” is a deeply affecting tale of how one reacts and adapt to the death of their once loved ones. What complicated the matter is that the late father, the husband and gay partner is the same person (played by in true stoic form by Spark Chen). In return we get an intriguing look into how different people deals with grief, anger, understanding and eventual acceptance. In particular we get terrific turns by the wife (played expertly by Hsieh Ying-hsuan) and the partner (played with a level of carefreeness by Roy Chiu). It is these characters that make the film interesting and reflective.
Roy Chiu plays the lead role as the bittersweet gay lover and with the older Spark Chen. The chemistry is natural and in comparison to the forced nature of Chen and Hsieh loveless relationship, there is a clear tension both physically and emotionally. Hsieh portrays the role of simple housewife turned possessive mother of their 13 year old rebellious son (played well by Jospeh Huang).
What makes the film works better than its premises is the fact that the characters remain extremely real, facing each day as it goes. The interplay of the stage theatre act comes together particularly well to depict the longing and sentimental nature of the happenings. In the end, Directors Chih-Yen Hsu and Mag Hsu managed to craft a though- provoking cinema that cuts through the different stages and types of personalities and how each as human reacts and grief in their own way to deal with their own demons. Dig deeper when watching.
I rated it 8/10
Directors Chih-Yen Hsu, Mag Hsu
Writers Mag Hsu, Shih-yuan Lu
Stars Roy Chiu, Ying-Xuan Hsieh, Joseph Huang, Spark Chen, Min-Fu Chou