Film review: 52Hz, I Love You – Taiwan’s answer to La La Land, minus the dramatic chops and dance numbers
Hitmaker Wei Te-sheng misses the mark this time with a thin plot and shallow characters as he directs pop singers Lin Zhong-yu, Zhuang Juan-ying, Suming Rupi and Mify Chen in a lonely hearts romance that fails to stir
The lonely hearts in Taipei find their match on Valentine’s Day in this lightweight musical romance by Taiwanese hitmaker Wei Te-sheng, who made box office history in 2008 with the music-themed Cape No.7 . Featuring a cast of pop singers, 52Hz, I Love You proves to be a pleasant trifle, which does a far more effective job of pleasing the ear than stirring the heart.
In a thinly plotted story that also curiously shuns choreographed musical numbers (unlike Jay Chou’s The Rooftop ), we follow florist Xin (Zhuang Juan-ying of musical group Katncandix2), disgruntled that she’s single at 33, and baker-turned-chocolatier Ang (Lin Zhong-yu of Cosmos People), sadly friend-zoned by his secret crush Lei, as they gravitate towards a romantic encounter on the day of hectic deliveries.
Meanwhile, the municipal event planner Lei (Mify Chen of Men Envy Children) is going through some inner struggle of her own: being the pragmatic and pessimistic half of a 10-year relationship, she’s contemplating breaking up with the uber-optimist and struggling musician Da-he (Suming Rupi of Totem), who happens to be planning an elaborate marriage proposal that very night.
It’s no spoiler to predict a happy ending for everyone – and that includes even Xin’s aunt (Cyndi Chaw) and Ang’s widower colleague ( Seediq Bale ’s Lin Ching-tai), who fall in love just by sitting next to each other on a subway train. Like much of 52Hz, a saccharine fare that stays shallow till the end, it comes across less as a case of fairy-tale romance than lazy storytelling and token character development.
52Hz, I Love You opens on February 9
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