Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival: Goodbye May is a study on love and grief
Music is one of the strongest triggers of memory, and in Goodbye May, director Feng Zhu uses music—from ancient Beijing opera to electronic trance—to connect his characters to time and to each other.
The film switches between two couples at two separate points in time. When Mu Ji loses his doting wife May, a former Chinese opera singer, to liver cancer, he doesn’t know what to do with himself. Having relied on May for cooking, cleaning, shopping, and daily reminders in his life, Mu Ji appears lost and confused, reminiscing of a time when him and May first fell in love, which is often triggered by the faint sounds of Chinese opera singing.
Meanwhile, May and Mu Ji’s electronic music-loving grandson (Alan Kuo) finds himself falling for Miao Xian (Serina Fang), a new opera talent who has just arrived in town. The seemingly parallel love stories connect through a detailed love letter written by May, which miraculously lands in Miao Xian’s hands.
There are few moments in Goodbye May that show subtlety and sensitivity; however, most of the movie is cheesy and overacted. From Fang’s over-the-top crying scenes to Kuo’s brazen facial expressions, the essence of love and grief is lost.
Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival presents Goodbye May on Friday (June 29) at 7 p.m. and Sunday (July 1) at 1:30 p.m.
Watch the trailer for Goodbye May.