A middle aged woman Wong Kam-fa (Teresa Mo) has a husband, Yuen Shan (Ray Lui). They have to care for their mentally challenged son, Hiu Kwong (Ling Man-lung). I remember the movie having a flashback. That scene inadvertently blames a fall she had during pregnancy as the cause for his different ability. It also gives him an autism diagnosis. Autism is a spectrum yet it chooses to portray a cartoonish version of that syndrome. But I’ll tolerate this.
The husband eventually decides to leave the family for a younger woman, Daisy (Bonnie Xian). Kam-fa’s friends show her the better way, to ignore Daisy and move on with living. But she decides to stalk Daisy to maybe eventually kill her. The movie doesn’t have just one problematic depiction of mental illness but two. Already a melodrama, it decides to go bonkers in a way that I surprisingly admire. The score adds to its histrionics.
Hiu Kwong is a constant presence in Kam-fa’s life, as the latter drags the former all over Hong Kong to figure out Daisy’s routine. Movies like this would normally focus on Kam-fa as a mother, and there’s substantial amount of time that this dedicates to that. But Daisy, despite barely appearing on screen, becomes part of her identity. She becomes someone with an adversary more than she is a passively influential figure.
Kam-fa doesn’t mind her husband’s departure as she does when Hiu Kwong lost a father. The film is a fascinating look at her shifting priorities. It also contrasts her wavering morality with the corrupt amorality within the culture she lives in. Daisy somehow becomes a symbol of the ableism that both Kam-fa and Hiu Kwong face. As cringe worthy as it is in depicting mental illness, there’s something admirable about its sledgehammer-y emotional manipulation.
- Release Date: 11/9/2018