Monday, October 21, 2013

Will you still love me tomorrow? (orig. Ming tian ji de ai shang wo) [2013]

MPAA (UR would be R)   Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing (D. Elley) review

Will you still love me tomorrow? (orig. Ming tian ji de ai shang wo) [2013] (written and directed by Arven Chen) is an excellent gay-themed young adult/young family drama from Taiwan that played recently at the 49th Annual Chicago International Film Festival.

The title says it all: "Will you still love me tomorrow?"  Wei Chung (played by Richie Ren), recently promoted manager at a eye-wear store, married to a smart, lovely and caring wife Lan Feng (played by Mavis Fan) with whom he has a 9-year-old boy, has tried really hard _not to be gay_.   Yes, he's apparently had "a phase" for a few years in college but "that's long past."  By the time he was finishing his studies, he was serious, put his life in order, met this wonderful girl who would make his parents proud, got married, settled down, got a job, had a kid.  What more could one ask of him.  He was/became "a really good guy."

... cept.

Nine years after the birth of their son, things are starting to wear at the edges.  Lan Feng's friends/coworkers are starting to ask, "Why don't you have another kid?" (Remember this is TAIWAN, not China ... no one child policy.  If anything in tiny Taiwan, having children has been encouraged). "It's one thing if you two can't have kids, but it seems that you can.  Why NOT give your son a little brother or sister?"  Why not indeed? But whenever Lan Feng brings-up this up or even news/gossip from work of one or another of her coworker's recent romantic vacation or getaway, Wei Chung brings up ... well ... work.  And yet they have all the money they need.  They're not saving for anything.  They have no goals, no plans, no dreams.  They're just hovering.  It's not as if they're fighting.  They're not.  They just seem to be in suspended animation and the only one who's growing is their somewhat odd (but not maliciously so) "paste eating son." ;-)

Things crack though when Wei Chung's previously party-happy (and travel agent) little sister Mandy (played by Kimi Hsia) announces that she's (finally) getting married.  It's a surprise. Wei Chung, never thought that his wilder little sister was ever going to settle down and apparently had been dismissing her for years as someone who'll "never ever grow up."  Yet now apparently she is ...

An even bigger surprise comes at his sister's engagement party.  He runs into her photographer for the event.  Really, really _gay_, Wei knows the photographer (though apparently only as a friend) from his "back in the day gay phase."  The photographer's "cool" with who Wei's become, but ... that seems to be Wei's breaking point.

As nice as his life is, as wonderful as his wife and family are, he just can't go on being who, he's discovering, he's not.

Then a good looking airline pilot comes into his store asking to be fit for a pair of new glasses ...

What the heck to do?  And how to explain what's happening to him to his wife.  She's talking about having another baby and all he's got on his mind is "How do I get out?  How do I get out of this life?  AND HOW CAN I POSSIBLY DO THIS WITHOUT HURTING EVERYBODY AROUND ME?"

"Will you still love me tommorrow ...?" the song is actually sung later in the movie by Lan (Wei's wife) when she's out with her coworkers at a Kareoke bar celebrating some exciting event in one-or-another of her friend's/coworker's lives.  Lan's seen her husband with the airline pilot.  She's told him that she's seen him with the airline pilot.  Wei feels absolutely awful about it, and promises her that he'll "do the right thing."  But she, who as the song goes, had given herself _completely_ to her husband and her family, is now crushed.  Does she want to be with someone who's going to be with her _simply_ because "it's the right thing to do."  Will he, can he,  _still love her_ tomorrow?  The rest of the film proceeds from there ...  Great film!

For those with eyes and ears, this film is a reminder that Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinijad or Russia's Vladimir Putin notwithstanding, homosexuality is, indeed, not simply a "decadent western (or secular) phenomenon."  It's worldwide and while the percentages of homosexuals in society are small, pretty much EVERYONE knows (and generally likes) at least a couple of homosexuals.  This phenomenon isn't going to go away.

To the Catholic Church's credit actually, in the United States the question of whether one or the other partners of a couple preparing for Catholic Sacrament of marriage is concerned that their partner may have homosexual tendencies is asked fairly early-on in the process (in the FOCCUS inventory).  Marriage in the Catholic Church is for life and asking the question early-on in the marriage prep process CAN (as this film actually shows...) save a couple a lot of heartache.  Further, a couple pretty much ANYWHERE in the Catholic world facing the situation in which one or the other of the partners comes out as gay would have NO PROBLEM in getting an Annulment of their marriage.  Yes, the Catholic Church has chosen to call homosexuality as a "disordered condition."  On the other hand, the Catholic Church has not sought to ask homosexuals to "not be gay" but rather insisted simply that certain sexual acts (performed by anybody, homo-or-heterosexuals) are intrinsically sinful.  In any case, the Catholic Church would not insist on the validity of the Marriage Sacrament if one or the other has come out as being gay.  One does not have to be who one is not and one does not have to stay with someone who is not who they said (or even sincerely thought) they were.

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