I Will Make You Mine is the third installment to a trilogy following the romantic misadventures of Goh Nakamura. The singer-songwriter stars as a fictional version of himself, but this installment is more of a look into his three major exes. All four major cast members and much of the supporting cast are Asian and its nice to see characters like this in a romantic film without fetishization. Anyway, The first ex is Rachel (Lynn Chen, taking over directing and writing duties from now-producer Dave Boyle). She hides her fandom and love for the musician from her husband Josh, passing Goh off as someone she discovers on a Youtube rabbit hole. The film reveals the reason for such secrecy.
But I Will Make You Mine has to do certain things before making its revelations. It reintroduces its audience to Goh’s other flames. The second is Erika (Ayako Fujitani), mourning he father’s death while dealing with Goh’s plans to make a musical tribute to his ex-father-in-law. In order to do that, he needs his guitar from his third ex, musician Yea-ming (Yea-ming Chen). He swears he still has not seen Yea-ming, and thankfully he is telling the truth. But it’s only a matter of time until he reconnects with his two exes, their meeting spelling nothing but trouble.
Goh makes for an unconventional romantic interest, and he is the main conversation topic whenever these women talk to their separate female friends. That is especially true with Rachel’s story line, whose friends know her past life more than Josh does. But sometimes those scenes organically diverge to show that they have their own private lives. All three women deal with adulthood and depression. That is especially true for Erika as she returns to LA, feeling her baggage as much as Goh’s.
I Will Make You Mine individualizes these women, but it also expresses character through the spaces they inhabit. The film also makes sure not to make those spaces too stereotypical. Erika’s dad’s house is the blankest of those canvases, a temporary place for her to stay even though it has potential. There are the venues where Yea-ming performs, clean but with a share of her merchandise. And there is Rachel’s home, whose books and liquor cabinet betray a performance of adulthood.
I Will Make You Mine shows all its romance and its LA setting through black and white photography. Some of its visuals and writing make sense with the sub-genre. But there are some moments where its sad sack feel becomes too obvious. The same goes with some of the lyrics and song titles, which Yea-ming Chen and Nakamura worked on. Some of the songs tiptoe the cringe factor that goes with films like this, and that factor stays no matter how much the film-making tries to downplay it. Otherwise, it is nice to watch smart characters deal with getting closure from their past loves.
Pre-order I Will Make You Mine on iTunes.