Movie Reviews

Over the Moon (2020)

over-the-moon-movie-review-2020-netflixDirector: Glen Keane, John Kahrs

Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Cathy Ang, Phillipa Soo, Robert G. Chiu, Ken Jeong, John Cho, Sandra Oh, Ruthie Ann Miles, Margaret Cho, Kimiko Glenn

Plot: 4 years after Fei Fei’s Mother passes away, her Father has met someone new. Fei Fei can’t understand why her Father no longer loves her Mother, and so she travels to the moon in order to find the Moon Goddess to prove to her Father that love is eternal.

My Thoughts: If you thought only Disney Pixar can make animated musicals with the power to make you cry as hard as you laugh, then think again. Netflix is here to surprise you! I’ve always loved animated movies but avoided Over the Moon when it was released last month because I heard it was all about how a young girl deals with grief and ugh, can anyone in 2020 handle their emotions? Because I sure can’t. I couldn’t stay away forever though and I’m so glad I finally gave it a try. This is such a beautiful movie from its storytelling to its visuals. If this isn’t an Oscar contender I will RIOT.

Very much like Inside Out (2015), the movie tackles such a difficult theme but does so in a beautiful way. As an adult watching, I know that Fei Fei’s Father will never stop loving her Mother, but I also understand that Fei Fei can’t see that. For all she knows, this new woman in his life is completely replacing her Mother, and taking away their family traditions at the same time. She’s also lumped with the prospect of an irritating younger brother, who, bless him, handles everything with the tenacity that only 8 year olds can.

Whilst not all the songs are completely memorable, they fit the scenes perfectly and one in particular made me ugly cry into my lunch. It’s an emotional ride but it’s also such a fun adventure as the soon-to-be siblings explore the moon together in order to find the object that the Moon Goddess is seeking. One of those stellar family movies that the adults can enjoy as much as the little ones. Also – I won’t pretend to know anything about Chinese culture but from what I’ve read, it’s represented excellently here and that sounds like a win to me. I’d say that if you enjoyed Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), you’ll enjoy this too.

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Best Bit: I have two words for you. PHILLIPA. SOO. Hands down the absolute star of 2020 for sure. From the tenacious Eliza Hamilton in…Hamilton (2020) to the lesbian goddess Nadine in The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020) to an ACTUAL Moon Goddess in Over the Moon (2020), she is simply incredible. And whilst we may only hear her voice in this movie, she sings the catchiest song by far.

Worst Bit: Maybe the child in me was siding too hard with Fei Fei, but I can’t help but feel like the Father’s new relationship could have been handled better. Yes, it was important to see Fei Fei adopt some of her future Step-Mother’s traditions, but surely they could have incorporated more of their original family traditions too? I’m being brat I think…

Fun Trivia: Audrey Wells’ final written movie before her death in 2018, the film will also be dedicated in loving memory of her.

My Rating: 4 and a half magical moon cakes…nope, still can’t think about that song without crying everywhere…

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Movie Reviews

Searching (2018)

searching-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Aneesh Chaganty

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 101 Minutes

Main Cast: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, Michelle La, Sara Sohn, Thomas Barbusca

Plot: David’s sixteen-year-old daughter doesn’t come home after study group one night, and also doesn’t show up to school the next day. After doing some searching himself, he files a missing persons report with the police and continues the search with them using his daughter’s laptop and social media. The more he hunts the more he realises – he didn’t even really know his daughter well.

My Thoughts: I was so HYPED to see this movie. If I could describe the kind of movie I would happily watch for the rest of my life, it’s this. A mystery with a gripping story, plenty of twists and turns along the way, and a genuinely surprising ending. I love when movies like this are done well, because I become so engaged with the story and the characters that I don’t find myself playing detective and trying to work it out myself.

The other fascinating element of Searching is the way that it’s shot. The entire movie is seen through a screen – what I mean is that the only time you see any of the characters is through FaceTime, CCTV footage, and webcams. It’s so well done, and really helps with the mystery of it all because we only know what David knows. I’m not certain I’d like to see many more movies shot this way because it could turn into a gimmick very quickly, but it works so well for this.

I’m just gutted that as a movie it doesn’t seem to have had a very wide reach. Most people I’ve spoken to (in real life) have no idea this movie exists, and even though I went to see it within days of it’s UK release, I was 1 of only 3 people in the whole room. Please, please see this movie if it sounds like something you would enjoy!

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Best Bit: That moment towards the end where all of the confusing elements suddenly made sense. If I was watching at home and not out in public I would have had a noticeably more audible reaction.

Worst Bit: I wasn’t expecting the opening 5 minutes to hit me so hard in the feels! That needs to be a warning in the BBFC ratings screen, man!

Fun Trivia: The film took just thirteen days to shoot. However, it took two years to make due to the prep, editing and animating.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Macbooks. I did have a witty joke as per usual but I wanted to keep this post as spoiler-free as possible!

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