Standing alone knee-deep in elements of bizarreness and quirkiness, this is a distinctive fare of romance cinema by Singaporean Director Wee Li Lin that is nicely portrayed in a light-hearted overtone. Despite being over-the-top, this film features a brand of love that feels somewhat intriguing and desirable especially when we don't get much of it in an urban cityscape where extreme infatuation is unheard of.
Since she became a flower girl at the age of eight, JOEY (Joanna Dong) has been in love with the idea of finding that special man and being his bride. So much so that she got a job as a video consultant at the Wedding Education Department (W.E.D.). There, Joey shares the art of getting and marrying a man, through her romantic 'faux' wedding videos, which are screened to young singles all over Singapore. But the idea of fantasy and reality are blurred as Joey falls madly in love with GIN (Mo Tzu Yi), a handsome music teacher from Taiwan. They appear together as bride and groom in a landmark W.E.D video that will serve as a prelude to their upcoming nuptials.
But soon her bubble is burst. A beautiful girl, CECILIA (Sarah Ng Li-Wen), claims to be Gin's real fiancée while Gin claims that his affection for her was strictly for the video. Not letting her childhood dream go, Joey pursues Gin to make him see that she is his true bride as she sees his true heart. As her work mates, family and Gin begin to find out who she really is, will Joey's relentless drive to restore the happiness and joy she once knew also be her ultimate failing and undoing?
This is not an ordinary tale of love despite involving two very ordinary persons in an otherwise ordinary urban society. Living upbeat lifestyles that often produce frowning faces of woe, people are often shying away from one another with nobody taking initiatives to care and love. Matters are made worse if you're buried in your career.
Every man and woman for themselves.
Yet we see a miracle taking place in Forever, where Joey is head-over-heels madly in love with Gin right from the start of the film. Such deep infatuation seems to only be contested by screaming teenage girls idolising their favourite pop stars. When every possibility is deemed bleak by the average minds, Joey persists with so much self-confidence and positivity that gets us thinking that she's either out of her mind silly or courageously motivated in love.
Joey practices the right attitude towards something that may very well determine her lifetime happiness. Such a critical entity in life, who wouldn't be serious to go all out for it? Well ironically, not many of us do. When the person you fall for is already engaged to someone else and is a mere acquaintance, will you go against all adversity like how Joey did?
Besides being a great source of inspiration for others to follow when it comes to love pursuit, it is also a quirky source of entertainment in the right dosage. Credit goes to Joanna Dong for her larger than life expressions as Joey who commands great authority over the audience's attention span. We don't get to see much physical body movements as there's plenty of intimate portrait close-ups of the cast in the film to get you looking in abundance at their facial expressions (Joey's face is still burned in my mind as I pen this).
Dong's expressions were magically mesmerising.
Well known in the theatrical scene, Dong's articulation and voice quality is commendable as it instills more vibrance in her role. She sings in enchantment on top of speaking well, a great talent to watch for.
Photography by first feature cinematographer Gerald Stahlmann (on a Red system!) is well-lit as it should be in a positive romance genre. Despite turning dark towards the later half, it is still well-handled in terms of art direction to ensure that it doesn't go overboard to disrupt the lovey-dovey honeymoon sensation that the audience is feeling in sync with Joey.
On an interesting sidenote, I can't help but notice Joey's infatuation with the colour blue. Everything around her is blue, including her outfit and make-up. A great underlying hint of personality.
Forever is probably a personal baby to the Director as it comes across to most of us as daunting, different, and disturbing even. The brand of love she's campaigning here is insane, but it's what makes love so desirable and exciting to behold. A great experimental piece that doesn't leave much room for anticipation to fill, you'll have to decide if you will buy into Wee's fun idea of love that goes Forever.