DRAMA CLUB MOVIE REVIEW: Last Women Standing
Debo: Hello Last Women Standing drama clubbers! So exciting to see a movie starring the beautiful Shu Qi and the equally beautiful Eddie Peng ;) As someone who is in her 20’s and still forever alone, the premise of the film really hit close to home and was truly what made me interested in starting the movie in the first place! Though there were some lags throughout the picture, there were definitely some golden moments as well! So let’s get started with the discussion!
Unnichan: I always find it interesting to watch stories about women navigating through singledom, especially women in their 30s and above, because unfortunately we are still living in a time when it is taboo in practically every culture to be unmarried, never married or on the way to marriage (read: have prospects) by that time. However, this film took me by surprise with tackling that concept with a more subdued rom-com, slice of life approach. It caught me off-guard. And while this wasn't disappointing, it was jarring at times.
Debo: I agree, Unnichan, not being married at 30 is definitely an issue that is constantly brought up, especially in the Chinese culture (Cue: all the videos about being a “leftover woman” *shudders*). I’ve known lots of people who have struggled with that and seen the pressure/judgement they face because of how society dictates relationships to be an integral portion of life that people judge harshly when you are not currently in or have never had a relationship (I know this from first hand experience…) But I did like when Ru Xi stated how it was okay for her to be left, if it was worth it at the end and that really struck a chord with me, because they are my personal thoughts as well. That willingness to wait for the one as well as the wanting was portrayed very well. Additionally, the mother’s reaction towards her daughter’s singledom was sad but also very believable as well.
Unnichan: Her mother. I struggled with Mom. For even though I knew she was only pushing (I hate pushers) because she cared and feared for her daughter, I felt she needed to back off and be more understanding. To me, it was like telling a fat woman she needs to lose weight or calling an acne ridden teenager “pizza face”… Ru Xi knows she's single. She also knows her parents want her to get married; that everyone around her is buildling families and she wants that too, but it just isn't happening for her. Most women her age are painfully aware of their “circumstances.” Therefore, being reminded of her shortcomings [and by shortcomings I mean being unlucky in love] wasn't helping or urging her to make any decisions differently, only annoying her and creating more self doubt. One thing I appreciated was that Ru Xi always came to her own decisions in her own time. Even if they weren't that great, she made choices for herself and did her best to accept the path she chose. She didn't backpedal or renege.
Debo: Yes, that was definitely one of her best qualities throughout the whole movie. She was strong and knew exactly what she wanted and was willing to do whatever she could to get there. I definitely would have liked to see her being able to confront her mom and see her mom grow to understand and support her daughter’s decision, but the final path they had set out for her though was sad. Alzheimer’s is such a terrible disease and seeing a loved one regress down that path is very difficult and also put much more stress on Ru Xi herself.
Unnichan: I didn't care for the health issues but it did serve to reiterate a parent's concern about leaving their children alone in the world. And also the fear it can create within children to make rash decisions to ease their burden.
Debo: As we had discussed before, this movie definitely did not follow the rom-com path and was much more subtle in that way, I liked how it tried to focus on the growth of Ru Xi even though some parts were too jumpy and did not flow very well and held Ma Sai as a tool to help her grow instead of simply an object of desire in which Ru Xi’s only path was just to gain him and have the movie end there, which was an interesting angle.
Unnichan: Ma Sai could have been a much more interesting character and I do believe Eddie did well with what he gave to the character. He felt like a whole person, even though the film didn't really care too much about him or Doctor Bai. Everything was more about Ru Xi in a way that felt lopsided and even rushed in areas. I never quite knew that she liked Ma Sai, until she decided she did and while at times that works in stories, here it came across odd. Especially since there was never any doubt she had zero interest in Bai. Film did well with developing a layer here and there for them, like Ma Sai's unnecessarily kind gestures, the hotel room or their car rides but it still felt lacking overall. However, once all their feelings were on the table, their relationship was cute and realistic and exactly what you wanted to see her have in a romance.
Debo: Agreed. Ma Sai’s character felt pretty flat more like a prop than anything. But I also agree that Eddie did well with what he was given. The jump between not even thinking about to being in love was super sudden and I was caught off guard when it happened. I would have liked it if it was more gradual, instead of what the movie actually did, which was put in a couple of scenes and be like, “well, there, she’s in love with him.” Additionally, I think that same issue presented itself in the end when he suddenly appears and they are all lovey dovey again, it would have been nice to have more of buildup to that and especially since just moments before she seemed so happy about enjoying her singledom. Personally, would have like an ending where she is very at peace with her choice of staying single. I always like movies where the female lead does not need to end up with a guy and can just be content by herself, but there doesn’t seem to be much of them around.
Unnichan: Ha. Perhaps not. I did think they were going to leave things with her chatting and laughing with her bestie and this would have solidified my notion that neither of men were important but Ru Xi was a woman that wanted to choose romance if the person was right and she'd found him. There was no need for her to defiantly pick singleness. Plus, there were specific signs that Ma Sai was "the one that got away" and she'd get another chance. Like the fact she was exaggerating her contentment and being reminded of him several times at work. The story didn't need Ru Xi and Ma Sai to reconnect romantically, because in most cases we don't get redos but it was rom-comy nice that she did. And while I didn't mind the reunion or how it happened, I did think there needed to be a conversation. Or at least some mutual acknowledgement that they both had changed in the time they spent apart. Because if not, what was the point of the break up in the first place? Which honestly is something else all together. This film had me very divided in my thoughts about how and why things were done. For though I didn't mind how Ru Xi broke things off, I did have a problem with why. If you decide your current relationship is going nowhere and want to end things in a completely healthy relationship, for marriage and kids, then it makes no sense, not to actually get married and have a baby. She had a man on standby ready for just that. I liked the way the (breakup) scene was done, in that there were no heavy dramatics, she wasn't cold or mean. But what she did afterward, which was simply, enter another dating relationship with a man she had no intention of opening up emotional or otherwise, was just silly.
Debo: Completely agree with what you said. There were definitely parts of the movie that just made me go “huh” to the logic of what just happened. I liked the concept of the movie but execution of some parts were just a little strange. I also wished there could have been more chemistry between Ru Xi and Ma Sai, just seemed a bit lacking in that department as well :/ I did feel bad for the doctor though! I thought the dad’s speech was very sweet, you can see just how much he cares for his daughter and her happiness which wasn’t very evident in the previous parts of the movie.
Unnichan: Ru Xi’s father’s monologue was the highlight and crux of this film. In those 2-3 minutes, film did its best to make up for what the narrative hadn't fleshed out, gave credibility to Mom’s rants and showcased what most of us already knew--- Jin Shijie is an amazing actor!--- all the while portraying a loving, intuitive father. I enjoyed the film and found it entertaining, in that it does center one woman's reignited acceptance of self. To me, that is a very authentic concept, whereas we all struggle with what is generally expected and (should) conclude we can only live our own lives, in the only way we can, as ourselves. Once we come to terms with that, we embrace happiness. And thankfully, in this case, its embodiment was Eddie Peng.
Debo: Now it’s your turn, Drama Clubbers! How do you feel about the execution as well as the ending of the movie? Was it everything you hoped it would be or did you find it greatly lacking? Comment down below! Until next time~
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