Monday, 1 September 2014

Movie Review: Temporary Family (失恋急让)

Previous Review: Café. Waiting. Love
Next Review: The Expendables 3

In Hong Kong, land space is limited, soaring residential property and rental prices have made it extremely difficult for many ordinary Hong Kong citizens to own a house of their own without tying themselves up in a lifetime of debt. This is mainly due to rampant property speculation which caused prices to rise uncontrollably in the property market over the years. As a result, society has become increasingly shallow, superficial and materialistic over the years as the desire for more money to afford a property leads to further erosion of moral values and core ethics, affecting future generations.

Temporary Family (失恋急让) is basically a story about the lives of four people who are forced to live together in a luxury apartment after their plan to resell it backfired due to property market cooling measures implemented by the Hong Kong government. Lung (Nick Cheung 张家辉) is a desperate property agent who tries to earn more money to buy a 1,000 sq ft flat to please her air-stewardess girlfriend Julie (Myolie Wu 胡杏儿) so that she would marry him. Charlotte (Sammi Cheng 郑秀文) is a recent divorcee who refuses to accept that her husband just doesn't love her anymore and unable to move on, even after receiving a large sum of money after the divorce. Lung's step-daughter, Ah Hak (Angelababy 杨颖) has a flat but she doesn't like the location and she wants to stay with Lung instead. Very Wong (Ou Hao 欧豪) is a rich mainland colleague of Lung's who is eager to prove his worthiness to his wealthy dad that he can be successful without his father's help.

The film has a weird blend of comedy and drama that works quite well. Some of the jokes were quite funny and entertaining. Nick Cheung and Sammi Cheng both delivered strong acting performances to carry the film. Another thing worth mentioning is Angelababy Yeung's appearance without make-up. WOW. It really shows what a huge difference make-up can have on a woman’s appearance. (Don't get me wrong, she still look attractive though) It's quite rare for an actress to be willing to make such an appearance in film. As usual, there's a few Hong Kong celebrity cameo appearances (Jacky Cheung 张学友, Ivana Wong 王菀之) throughout the film as well.

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As the film progresses, it starts to shift its focus to Charlotte, who is still hoping that one day she can reunite with her husband of 10 years. She has dedicated most of her life for her husband. Her emotions and drive provide the necessary emotional backdrop to show the audience why a residential property should be a home instead of a mere trading asset. The film lets its audience to sit back, reflect, and think about what is the fundamental purpose of owning a property in the first it a home for you and your family to live in or just something that you can trade countless times with other people? A house should be a place for you to provide shelter to your family to create memories together. Most of the property speculation are mainly driven by greed or desire to make profit. Society nowadays has become so obsessed with money, luxury items and property ownership to the point that they're willing to forsake love and relationship just to have them. It's sad but very true.

Despite its thoughtful premise and decent acting performances from the main casts, the film has its flaws. The script is not compelling enough to leave a strong lasting impression to the audience. The film does not push its themes further enough to pack a punch. It chooses a light-hearted, entertaining approach by providing a happy ending for its closure. Overall, Temporary Family is still a decent film to watch, it's just that I was actually hoping that the film would take a much more ambitious, serious approach to push it further.

Rating: 6.5/10

Previous Review: Café. Waiting. Love
Next Review: The Expendables 3

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