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Shmoo Review – Dear Ex

This week we’re diving into our home-viewing options and trying to find some of Netflix’s hidden gems.

‘Dear Ex” is a film that I can easily recommend to other people, because that’s what I wanted to immediately do after viewing it.

‘Dear Ex’ follows Liu San-lian, her son Song Cheng-Xi, and her ex-husband’s boyfriend Jay, as they struggle to deal with the death of their ex-husband/father/friend and their on-going argument over who will inherit his life insurance money.

The movie is nearly two hours long, but it’s worth every minute because it twists perspective in the storytelling. A story about culture, love, and loss; I enjoyed the difference in perspective that we received over western films.

At face value, this may be a film about a homosexual man who figures out what he wants in life and leaves his wife and child to pursue it. However, this movie is so much more, because we are getting the family’s perspective, set in the time after the man has died from cancer. We get to see the son go to therapy and the mom trying to come to terms with feeling betrayed.

The three main characters have well-rounded story arcs and personalities. They are people living a story, not characters who were part of a narrative. I enjoyed the simpleness of this film. I believe that it was clever to have such a simple layout because it forces the audience to be engaged in the story. The only time you notice that there is any music or score is when an emotional moment happens and the audience hears a whistle tone.

This is a very well done film. I believe that the writing was very clever; how the young son spoke, how the adults spoke. This film beautifully expresses its culture by placing you in the centre of it. The acting performances were raw and full of life. This is one to sit down with the family, to share some laughs, share some tears and let yourself feel.

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