While this year's SXSW was canceled due to COVID-19, we still had a chance to screen some of the films for the festival. Keep your eyes peeled for more news on these titles in the future!
Do you ever find yourself looking at your life and wondering "what if"? I Will Make You Mine's Rachel (Lynn Chen), Erika (Ayoko Fujutani), and Yea-Ming (Yea-Ming Chen) all do. In this complicated instance, their what ifs all revolve around one man: an indy artist named Goh Nakamura (playing himself — or at least a version of it). Each woman has their own story with the musician, but their narratives couldn't be more different.
Rachel's in an unhappy marriage and finds herself wondering more and more what her life would have been like if she'd stayed with her high school sweetheart (yup, that's Goh). Meanwhile, Erika had the chance to marry the object of all their affection and elected not to. Yea-Ming's a little bit more free spirited than the other women, but still finds herself wrapped up in questions of what may have happened if they'd stayed together.
Each of the women's stories are told with a breathtaking empathy.
Each of the women's stories are told with a breathtaking empathy. You might not agree with their choices or how they're behaving in a given moment, but you as the viewer understand why they're making it. For example, Erika can be a bit cruel, but she also just lost her father and is trying to take care of her and Goh's daughter amidst the chaos of making funeral arrangements. All of them, even Goh, are depicted as painstakingly human in the most interesting of ways.
With all of their humanity comes a complex longing. What surprised me most is that we also see that longing from Goh. When I Will Make You Mine starts, you kind of get the sense that he's going to be another screwup artist who just wants to play his songs, man. As things progress, we learn that he's made sacrifices in both his career and relationships to be a better father to he and Erika's daughter, Sachiko (Ayami Riley Tomine). There's also an apparent love for each of these women. Once again, that love doesn't present itself in the way that you'd expect it to from a man who at first appears to be a stereotypical artist. There's no flakey, freewheeling nature to any of it. He simply cares about all of them in very different ways.
Lynn Chen's directorial debut is stunning.
Lynn Chen's (the same Lynn Chen that plays Rachel) directorial debut is stunning. It's beautifully shot in black and white, and perfectly illustrates the beautiful differences between three women experiencing longing.
Refreshingly, there's no attempt to shoehorn a banal connection between the film's three women. I'm always team girl gang, but there's no justification for it here, and at no point does the movie try to be something that it isn't. There are organic moments of respect, and overcoming of differences between Rachel, Erika, and Yea-Ming that are all beautiful because of the decision not to force anything. Props are once again due to Chen, who also penned the script.
Will Make You Mine is the type of film that's going to make you feel things that you didn't expect to feel going in. There are moments of unexpected laughter and uncomfortably relatable humiliation all wrapped up in this sweet and sometimes painful story. It's gorgeous, and very much worth your time.
The film will be available for pre-order until its May 26th VOD release.
SXSW might have been cancelled, but movies aren't!
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