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Most say Eternal Summer is a gay movie. But I would rather call it a movie about relationships.
Newbies Bryant Chang and Joseph Chang play two best friends who come a long way from primary school after they were paired off as motivational buddies by their form teacher. As the 'third party' Carrie (Kate Yeung) enters the scene, the relationship becomes more complicated. All three struggle with love and friendship a line that can seem so clearly divided but is not.
With 4 nominations at the Golden Horses, this movie caused a stir in Taiwan, both in terms of theme and story. Fortunately, it did not sink into typical Taiwanese melodramatic mode. The director takes his time to unfold, filled with awkward yet genuine moments. Note the parallels that he draws, and the subtle contrast between scenes reveal more than what is said.
Many times, the audience may feel frustrated with the slow pacing, and wished that the characters would just acknowledge what they feel. Perhaps this is a reflection of individuals being unaccepted and different in society, whether you are a gay, migrant or loner. You may just identity with the 3 characters' suppression and lack of ability to communicate.
With Lan Yu winning the Golden Horse, and Brokeback Mountain the Golden Globes paving the way, homosexual themed movies have started arriving to the shores of Singapore (with some censorship). Just a few years before, it would almost seem impossible that movies like Eternal Summer would be screen here. Liberation of the authorities or sophistication of the audience? To emphasize, this is not just another 'gay' movie, and may disappoint those going for the wrong reasons. With the tagline "No One Wishes To Be Lonely, Neither Do We", it can be viewed as a beautifully shot movie on the pains of growing up, friendship and love.
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