There’s a happiness in Hsiao-Chi (Patty Lee), the protagonist of Chen Yu-hsun My Missing Valentine. That happiness is out of character for her since she’s a postal worker in Taiwan who hate sher coworkers (which include Joanne Missingham). But one of her customers, Wenson (Duncan Chou), asker her out.
That first date leads to a theoretical second date during Valentine’s Day, but she manages to sleep through that day. She returns to work, sad that Wenson is ghosting her. But this is not just a typical three act romantic comedy, especially because it involves a third person (Liu Kuan-ting).
Romantic comedies are often a no for yours truly because of how trope-y they can be. But somehow the tropes here work, like its tough characters that become soft because of their surroundings. It gives Hsiao-Chi with the right amount of toughness as she gets to the bottom of her missing day.
Life has its twists and, appropriately, My Missing Valentine depicts Hsiao-Chi’s life in surprising ways. One of its ways include portraying her life through the perspective of that mysterious third person in her life. It adds a caper element to an already quirky romantic comedy, but it, again, works.
My Missing Valentine earned a Best Screenplay win at last year’s Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan. And even a genre film like this shows how it can earn such recognition with its ambition. Other than the caper element it also adds flashbacks to make its twists work.
My experience with Taiwanese cinema is scarce, and this has elements of both quirk and romance of that country’s output. There’s a fifth element in here in that it also has touches of fantasy. But it reveals all those twists with a subtle slight of hand which most films should do.