SXSW 2020: I Will Make You Mine Review

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BY: AMANDA GUARRAGI

Lynn Chen’s directorial feature debut, I Will Make You Mine is a film about three women at different stages of their lives. Erika, Rachel and Yea-Ming all have one thing in common and his name is Goh. It is also the final instalment of the Surrogate Valentine trilogy, written and directed by Dave Boyle. The film explores past relationships, longstanding connections and addresses the burning question, that we all hate to ask ourselves, “Did I really change that much?” Chen integrates her love of music throughout the film, as she handpicks her soundtrack and incorporates original music, making the atmosphere authentic to a musician’s ear.

Not only did Chen direct this film, she also wrote a realistic story that deeply resonated with me. Every woman has that one person in their life that they could never really let go of. It could be a high school/college sweetheart, a close friend or someone they’ve silently yearned for. These three women, all had different relationships with Goh and Chen effortlessly created these characters. Each woman questioned who they were with/without this man in their life. The conversations between each woman and Goh, were very natural and each scene flowed nicely into the other.

The woman I identified with the most was Yea Ming (Yea-Ming Chen) because she yearned for Goh (Goh Nakamura). I think it’s one of the most painful moments to process in one’s life, to want someone so badly and having them not reciprocate the same energy. You could give so much of yourself to someone, without even realizing it and then one day you just snap out of it. Yea Ming is a musician and she shares the same love of music with Goh. There is so much power in music because it connects to so many people. Chen uses music as their creative outlet, to tell each other how they truly feel and I think that’s the most wonderful aspect of this film. Yea Ming wanted to forget about Goh, she desperately wanted to move on, but somehow, she couldn’t find it in herself to do so because she felt that connection.

So many scenarios and topics are brought to the forefront in Chen’s film and I think it’s incredible that she managed to incorporate everything seamlessly. Each woman was presented at different stages in their lives, at different moments, trying to make sense of who they are and I think it’s beautiful work. It’s a film that will stay with me because of how deeply I connected with each of these women.

Chen’s direction and stylistic choices for the film also make it unique in the telling of this story. The choice to film this in black and white, somehow brought more focus to the musicians and I thought that it was effective. The lighting and tones in a black and white film can sometimes be challenging, but Chen had a great eye for composing the frame. There were some shots that were stunning to see in black and white, one that stood out to me was when Yea Ming was playing the piano and smoking, the lighting in that shot, combined with the close up, looked lovely and it stayed with me. The entire film looked very sleek and it suited the musical atmosphere Chen created.

The film also shows the importance of having a creative outlet. Most of the time adults forget what made them happy in their teenage years because they get so caught up in building their current life. Goh’s music made such an impact on these women, that long after they met him, they still felt connected to him. The music brought back memories and feelings that they never thought they would still feel in their current lives. The association of a medium to any memory is such a powerful thing and Chen truly captured that in the best way possible.

I Will Make You Mine makes you reminisce about your own memories that you’ve had with people, who have impacted your life in any way. It almost forces you to re-examine how you are approaching your current life, it shows you that change is necessary and comfort can sometimes be damaging. It’s a thought provoking film and it’s because of Lynn Chen’s natural approach in discussing human behaviour. It’s a lovely directorial debut and I look forward to seeing what she does next.

 

 

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