As part of a blogging club, I was offered a pair of free tickets to a showing of the new Singaporean movie "Forever." I'm a sucker for free stuff and for Singaporean movies, so naturally I accepted. The movie was showing at Plaza Singapura, so we went in and met a representative from the club. I felt special when all I had to do was say my name in order to be handed movie tickets!
As we settled in and the ads began, I joked to Bryan that this was a true Singaporean experience – we were seeing a Singaporean movie that is set in Singapore, all of the ads were Singaporean, the movie is in Mandarin with English subtitles, and even the way we were seated in the theater (everyone crammed into the last four rows, the rest of the theater totally empty) is something I’ve come to think of as uniquely Singaporean. Another interesting tidbit: Bryan and I were the only Westerners in the theater, and we found that there were several points in the movie where we laughed and no one else did, and some points where everyone was laughing except us.
The movie’s first scene took place in Japanese Garden, which is about a 15-minute walk from our apartment, so that got me all excited (am I the only one who gets a huge kick out of recognizing landmarks in movies? I can barely watch a movie that takes place in S’pore without blurting out “I’VE BEEN THERE!” every 2 minutes). Anyway, the movie was about a woman who works for the (fictional) Singaporean Wedding Education Department (W.E.D.). She falls in love with a man who is already engaged, and proceeds to stalk him relentlessly. I won’t ruin the ending for those of you who want to go see the movie!
Overall, the movie was pretty good. My favorite parts definitely involved the Wedding Education Department talking about how to fix Singapore’s low wedding index (This is actually a real problem. Singapore has low marriage rates and low birth rates, which the government has tried to address in a number of ways, to varying degrees of success). The W.E.D. even alluded to the oft-ridiculed Romancing Singapore campaign. But my favorite part of W.E.D. were the pro-marriage ads (LONELINESS KILLS) hanging in the background, because the ads were a little silly, but not so over-the-top that I couldn’t picture them plastered onto the side of the MRT. I’m going to run the risk of sounding a little bit film snobby here for a second and say that I also really enjoyed the art direction of the movie. Some of the scenes were so aesthetically pleasing that I wanted to take stills and frame them!
The movie did suffer from being illogical sometimes. For example (*spoiler alert*): How did Joey manage to get all of that stuff into the freezer at the restaurant? Didn’t the restaurant owners notice that there was an ice sculpture of a swan occupying half of their freezer and a crazy girl in a wig hanging around? And how did Gin get out after she locked him in there? In the last scene, why did all of those women buy Joey a cake but no one ate any? And I wasn’t crazy about how it ended.
The movie obviously had its flaws, but overall it was an enjoyable, and very Singaporean, night at the movies!