MONGA director Doze Niu's new film LOVE is like a very sweet dessert. It has been made with both natural sugars (the charming cast and stories) and artificial sweeteners (certain plots and dialogues). While it may be too sweet for some viewers, those who like plenty of sweetness will find this a heavenly treat. Just how much you enjoy the film will really depend on how much you are in the mood for love.
The film cannot be more appropriately titled, as it is all about love. There is romantic love, parents' love towards children and love between siblings. Plus the characters discuss about love (perhaps a little too much at times), and there is even a scene that features a shopping bag with the Chinese word for 'love' printed on it.
There are three largely independent stories with some little interconnections between them. Each involves a trio of characters. The stories may not be particularly original, but there is a certain irresistible charm about them. The attempt to tell three stories in parallel, however, has meant that some of the relationships are portrayed rather superficially and some of the plots are not as engaging as they could be.
The ensemble cast is star-studded. Beautiful Shu Qi (IF YOU ARE THE ONE, THE TRANSPORTER) and Vicki Zhao (RED CLIFF, 14 BLADES) are two of the biggest names in Asian cinema, and both actresses handle their roles comfortably. The rest of the cast consists of some very likeable young Taiwanese actors and actresses, including Ethan Ruan and Mark Chau (MONGA), Eddie Peng and Ivy Chen (HEAR ME) and Amber Kuo (AU REVOIR TAIPEI).
There is just so much to like about this film. The cast, the mood and the cinematography all help to make the film light-hearted and immensely enjoyable. LOVE is simply a lovely, loveable and lovingly made film about love.
LOVE is distributed in Australia by China Lion Film. It will open in cinemas on February 23.