The rom-com genre seems to be on the rise again in HK cinema, with productions like the “Love in a Puff” series, “SoulMate” and the present film, which has also incorporated coming-of-age elements in the setting of the changes Hong Kong experienced from the Golden Age of the 90’s until today.
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The story unfolds in two axes, one taking place in the present, when Gigi Yu has trouble with her marriage with Shing Wah, and the second 20 years before, when the two of them and Bok Man were inseparable friends in school, with the aviation club functioning as the base of their relationship.
In the present, both Gigi Yu and Shing Wah are stuck working extreme hours, she in a travel agency and he as a leader of a design team that caters mainland clients’ needs. While she seems to be the one most troubled by their alienation, she also finds that he has an affair with a Shanghai girl, and starts wondering if she has made the wrong choice between the two boys that loved her during their high school days. Subsequently, she starts searching for Bok Man, who has disappeared from their lives completely.
Adam Wong directs a very sensitive film, that uses the two axes to present a number of very interesting themes. The first one is the changes Hong Kong experienced (and continues to experience) after the handover to China, which are presented through the dreams the characters had during their school days and the reality that hits them hard in the present. The second is the teenage romance, which is depicted in a delightful way through a noble rivalry between two friends that struggle to win a girl who seems to love them both. The third is the changes that a single decision or even a single moment can bring to the lives of people, with a missed letter being the catalyst in the way the future was shaped for all three characters. The fourth is regret, a concept Wong presents as something that people should put behind, as the future is what actually matters.
All of the above are presented in a delightful combination of cheerfulness and drama, with the past axis focusing on the latter and the present in the former, with Wong basing the film upon this combination, as he intermingles scenes and the two elements. This tactic is benefited the most by Poon Hung Yiu and Wong’s own editing, which retains a balanced atmosphere between the two, through the elaborate succession of scenes, although, at some point, I felt like he stressed the drama a bit more, in a tactic that borders on the melodrama.
Another focal point is Hong Kong itself, its beauties and the changes that occurred during these two decades, with Tam Wai Kai presenting a number of images that highlight both.
Miriam Yeung has emerged as the queen of the rom-com genre, and this movie is a testament to the reason she has accomplished that. As adult Gigi Yu, she portrays, excellently, a woman struggling with the choices she made in the past, as she watches the man she loves moving further and further away from her. However, the one who steals the show is delightful Cecillia So as young Gigi Yu, who portrays a character who manages to appear cool at all times, despite the fact that she is torn between two boys she loves, not wishing to hurt anyone. Neo Yau as young Shing Wah and Siu Hin Ng as Bok Man are also great as they highlight a difficult relationship that has them as both best friends and rivals. The chemistry of the three is one of the film’s best assets.
“She Remembers He Forgerts” is a delightful and very entertaining movie, that transcends the rom-com and the coming-of-age genres through their combination and a number of very interesting social comments.