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Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? DVD Review

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (Ming tian ji de ai shang wo)

US Theatrical Release: January 17, 2014 (Taiwan Theatrical Release: April 3, 2013) / Running Time: 106 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated

Writer/Director: Arvin Chen

Cast: Richie Ren (Weichung), Mavis Fan (Feng), Stone (San-San Chen), Kimi Hsia (Mandy), Lawrence Ko (Stephen Zhang), Wong Ka Lok (Thomas), Wei-Ning Chang (Awan), Gaby Lan (Big Chen), Yu-Shan Kao (Grandma), Ching-Pu Tan (Grandpa), Jane Lee (Hui-Ling), Wen-Wen Yang (Xiao-Yi), Star Yeh (Mimi), Michael Chang (Simon), Alan Chen (Ray-Ray), Ian Chien (Ming), Vivi Lee (Hsu Jiazheng), Tzu-Chien Tseng (Alan), KaKa (Ling-Ling), Lee Hae Woo (Jun), Ko Sang-Hee (Minyoung), Hsiao Yeh (Old Chang), Yeh-Tien Ting (Master Wu), Ting-Chien Wu (Sales Rep), Ben (James), Jack Yao (Wedding Emcee)

2.40.1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Stereo 2.0 (Mandarin), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Mandarin)
Subtitles: English / Closed Captioned / English Extras Not Subtitled or Captioned
DVD General Retail Release Date: July 8, 2014 (Film-of-the-Month Club Debut: December 1, 2013)
Suggested Retail Price: $24.95 / Clear Keepcase / Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9)
Also available on Amazon Instant Video

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In the Taiwanese film Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?, a married middle-aged man who is father
to a 6-year-old son begins looking elsewhere for kicks.

Optometrist Weichung (Richie Ren) is a quiet, serious, and forlorn man. He's also gay, something he's kept secret and denied since marrying Feng (Mavis Fan) nine years ago and starting a family with her. An engagement party for Weichung's younger sister Mandy (Kimi Hsia) allows Weichung to reconnect with flamboyant photographer Stephen (Lawrence Ko) and to recall the alternative lifestyle they once shared. Stephen too has gotten married, but just for show, to a lesbian who sleeps around as does he.

As Feng raises the subject of having another child, newly-promoted store manager Weichung reopens that chapter of his bachelorhood while trying to find the right pair of glasses for Thomas (Ka-Lok Wong), a young flight attendant.

The Taiwanese film "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" centers on Weichung (Richie Ren), a forlorn, long-closeted, middle-aged family man and optometrist.

Meanwhile at a giant retail store, Mandy gets cold feet about her imminent life change, suddenly spurning her fiancé (Chin-Hang Shih). As he turns to Stephen and his fellow gay friends for advice, she is visited by hallucinations of her favorite soap opera actor. We also see a good amount of Feng, who is habitually late for work at a time when her company's forthcoming merger may put her out of a job.

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?, which takes its title from the 1960s Shirelles song (that's performed in a karaoke scene) bills itself a romantic comedy, but like most of those it isn't actually romantic or funny. Aside from the occasional flash of artistry, you cannot credit this for being anything except somewhat subversive; it's tough to imagine a mainstream American film exploring a family man coming out of the closet.
Alas, that may be the only angle to distinguish this production. It's tough to sympathize with anyone here, since Weichung finally being true to himself and pursuing real love must uproot his family and topple the foundation of the wife who genuinely loves him. Making his second film, American-born and raised writer-director Arvin Chen doesn't shy from that conflict or ease it artificially by vilifying Feng. The protagonist must weigh his unhappiness and secret preferences with the stability of his family.

While it may be a comedy, it's not a particularly funny one and bears little resemblance to the cheery romp advertised in poster and cover art. Film Movement's December 2013 Film of the Month Club selection (Year 11, Film 12), Will You was treated to a nominal release in just three North American theaters last winter. It reaches general retail today in the same DVD sent to subscribers at the end of last year.

Mandy (Kimi Hsia) has an Hurt Locker moment, overwhelmed by the many offerings of retail giant Carrefour. Weichung (Richie Ren) would like to do more than just pick out eyeglasses for Thomas (Ka-Lok Wong).

VIDEO and AUDIO

The picture quality on Film Movement's DVD is fine. There's no mistaking this 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation for high definition, but the video isn't lacking but for detail and sharpness. The Mandarin Chinese soundtrack is presented in both Dolby Stereo 2.0 (the default) and Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to the latter and found it striking for the way that it played music at a much louder volume than dialogue, requiring a lot of remote control tinkering to protect your ears but still hear the actors' inflections. The player-generated white English subtitles are gramatically and visually sound.

Writer/director Arvin Chen discusses his second film in this English language interview. "Mei", Chen's 2006 USC student short film, doesn't look right squished to 2.40:1.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Extras directly related to Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? include one-screen text biographies of writer/director Arvin Chen and the two lead actors,

two trailers (2:18 & 1:14), and an interview of Chen (7:05). He speaks in perfect English, the language he reveals he writes in. Other topics discussed including working in the Taiwanese industry, casting the film, and its local box office reception.

All Film Movement DVDs include a bonus short. This one's is unusually relevant. Mei (12:38) is a 2006 USC student film written and directed by Chen. It tells the story of a quiet young man who is silently enamored with his America-bound co-worker at a busy Taipei noodle shop. It's an interesting short, though it appears to be distorted to the 2.40:1 aspect ratio in which it is presented.

The DVD opens with trailers for Tanta Agua, Watchtower, and In the Name Of, followed by a new promo for Film Movement's Film of the Month club. All of them are accessible by menu, the trailers joined by ones for The Piano in a Factory, Hospitalité, and The Drummer.

The menu plays scored clips under standard listing bars.

The inside of the clear keepcase displays reverse side artwork and the usual paragraphs explaining Film Movement's selection of the film and gathering some creative insight from the director.

A dejected Feng (Mavis Fan) suddenly gets lights and back-up singers in her karaoke performance of the song that gives "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" its title.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Though made with obvious thought and care, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? fails to entertain or excite. Maybe this Taiwanese film will resonate with certain viewers and cultures, but it did less for me than any of the ten or so Film Movement DVDs I've reviewed over the past year.

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Reviewed July 8, 2014.



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