By Roger Costa
I WILL MAKE YOU MINE
Actress turned writer-director Lynn Chen’s directorial debut kicks off with fascinating lyrical images reflecting on nostalgic feelings developed over the years by three different women towards the same men. Shot in a gorgeous B&W using bright lights and shadows to display these women’s experiences with guilty, loss, grieving, desire, impulse and other personal dilemmas, the film follows them through their unexpected interactions in a sunny Los Angeles weekend.
Rachel is going through a marital crisis despite her wealthy and independent lifestyle; Eryka has just lost her father, and while arranging the funeral, must face her ex-husband and confront mixed feelings; Yea-Ming is a free-spirited folk singer-songwriter still trying to figure out her place in the world. Living different lives, distant from one another, the once inseparable high school friends (and lovers) reconnect under all the pressure, unburying their past, unresolved mutual, ambiguous feelings. The motive for their excitement is pretty much one: the famous and talented musician Goh Nakamura, who’s in town to look after his 5 year-old daughter while Eryka arranges the funeral.
His presence create all sorts of conflicts, doubts and distress over the women, as well as a passionate awakening on their aspirations: Rachel seeks for the essentials in her life; Eryka is possibly looking for a second chance; and Yea-Ming finds inspiration to compose and ignite her singing career.
Filled with original dialogue about modern relationships, loyalty, friendship values, memory and hope, this SXSW Official Selection presents efficient skills, including the upbeat dancing soundtrack, the precise editing and the affecting mood predominant throughout the narrative.
Using mostly Asian crew and performers, the first time director stands up as an influential cinematic force among her community, conceiving a crowd-pleasing, humorous and timely dramedy. The entire cast deliver fine performances, resulting in lovely, vivid chemistry that functions as a major attraction for the viewer. Among the surprises, Joy Osmanski who plays Rachel’s co-worker Amy, steals the scene with tricky advice regarding her marriage situation, while the little girl Ayami Riley Tomine enchants with her innocence as Sachiko.
Subtly addressing how artists are influenced and motivated by their own experiences with loneliness, fear and love, vibrant with its infusion of musical tendencies, and admirably melancholic, Chen scored a truthful, observational and enthusiastic urban rom-com.
(Gravitas Ventures. 5/26 on VOD. Pre-Order Link: