The Journey (一路有你) is a cross-continental Malaysian comedy drama film with a simple story but full of depth and meaning. The story is about Bee, who returns from Britain to Malaysia to seek her conservative and stubborn father's blessing for her marriage with a Caucasian, Benji.
However, due to Benji's lack of cultural understanding of Chinese culture and traditions and the issue of language barriers from both parties further complicates the situation, which results in Bee's strict and conservative father, Chuan strongly opposes the union. But, due to a series of unexpected events happening at that time, Chuan reluctantly agrees to give his blessing in the end, with some terms and conditions.
Soon, the journey begins with Benji and Chuan riding a motorcycle together to deliver the wedding invitations to Chuan's ex-primary schoolmates all over Malaysia. Throughout the journey, the two learn valuable lessons about love and accepting each other’s differences.
The film successfully depicts the Malaysian Chinese culture and tradition, the love between father and daughter, life-long childhood friendships that transcend time and culture, the liberal views of our current young generation, the unpredictability and fragility of life...all in one film. The script is genuinely funny at times, emotionally poignant and relatable to all Malaysians. It's incredibly rare to see a local production of this quality. It's a tremendous accomplishment for the Malaysian movie industry and it's something that we, Malaysians should be proud of.
Moreover, the cinematography is surprisingly stunning for a local production. The film is shot on various locations in Malaysia: Cameron Highlands, Ipoh, Penang, Kedah, Melaka, Sabah and Johor. The film captures the beautiful sights of the country...the hills, paddy fields, beach, bridges, etc. The props used in this film...the old furniture and decorations in Chuan’s or any of his other ex-classmates' houses provides a feeling of authenticity to the film.
The Journey is mostly a character-driven story, the film shines due of its wonderful casts. Lee Sai Peng (李世平）is wonderfully cast as the mopey and grumpy old man. On the other hand, Joanna Yew Hong Im (尤凤音), a daughter who seeks love and approval from her father, and Ben Andrew Pfeiffer, the initially impatient, carefree British guy who eventually learns to accept the cultural differences of Malaysians and his own. They also provide a convincing performance as an interracial couple together, managed to convey believable character emotions for certain scenes in the film.
Overall, it's one of the best Malaysian Chinese film ever made, don't miss it. It's a film for the young and old, a film that exceeds my expectation. It's better than many of the trashy and pointless foreign Asian productions out there now. Highly recommended.