The Journey is a cross-continental story that explores the idea of culture, not just as tradition but as an expression of love. When Bee (Yew) returns to Malaysia for the first time in a ...
See full summary »
The Journey is a cross-continental story that explores the idea of culture, not just as tradition but as an expression of love. When Bee (Yew) returns to Malaysia for the first time in a decade - she introduces her conservative father Uncle Chuan (Lee) to her happy-go-lucky British fiancé, Benji (Pfeiffer). With Benji's lack of cultural understanding and comprehension of Chinese traditions, Chuan opposes their marriage. Unexpected circumstances ensue, and Chuan reluctantly submits to their union, on the condition that their wedding adheres to Chinese tradition. Part of that tradition is that Chuan must invite all of his childhood friends personally. So the quintessential odd couple, Benji and Chuan, embark on a cross country adventure to deliver the invitations. Despite language barriers and initial hesitation from both parties, the two men come to realize that their priorities are essentially one and the same.Written by
I missed Yasmin Ahmad (Sepet) so much. With her untimely passing, I feel Malaysia cinema went backwards. Today I saw the future. This is a gem of a film and it didn't even look cheap like many locally made films. I swear I wore a smile throughout the heartwarming film, an amalgam of sights and sounds. The cinematography is stunning. At times I had to do a double-take because I have never seen Malaysia looking so beautiful. The script is sometimes so hilarious and there are times it is so emotionally poignant. I am not ashamed to say I cried.
It sounds like I am describing a perfect film. It is not. The acting is at times over-wrought, the comedy borders on slapstick (thankfully it didn't step into farce territory), the direction lacks clarity at a couple of spots, some characters are not developed to satisfaction and the editing is not seamless at times. But the emotional beats are spot-on and the acting so earnest. I enjoyed watching the mopey and grumpy father played so naturally by Lee Sai Peng. There is also hardly any emotional schmaltz forced down our throat which makes it somehow more powerful. A lot of gems came up when we were talking about it later. For example, in the first act Chuan told Benji that he cannot sleep with Bee in the same room. Later in the last act, Chuan is not at home but Benji automatically leaves Bee's bedroom. What does it mean? Benji is a different person now. He has learned respect and the Chinese way. There are many innocuous gems like these once you let the movie simmered a bit. This is a director I will definitely follow in the future - Chiu Keng Guan.
The Journey is definitely worth taking a journey into JB (I live in Singapore). When it ended, it put us in a sublime state and both of us simultaneously proclaimed "this is so good". We couldn't stop discussing about it all through dinner and even on the journey back. Ah that word again... Journey. The movie made both of our heart soared up to cloud nine (it's still there). It's the type of film that comes once in a while... It may be far from perfect but it wears it's big warm heart on its sleeve and it will make you want to hug everyone in the cinema because they are 'family', they are kindred. Don't count on this to come here. If it does it will probably be marketed as a foreign film which will be so inappropriate because The Journey feels like home.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this