Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends!! ❤️
If you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day movie to watch, this omnibus movie, which is all about love, might be a good contender. Show was released 10 years ago, specifically in celebration of Valentine’s Day – which is why I thought it’d be the perfect show to check out today, in honor of the season of love.
Psst! Links to watch are at the end of the review!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
An omnibus sort of story, featuring 8 main characters, as they stumble through the confusing and sometimes perplexing thing called love.
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a couple of things that I think would be helpful to keep in mind, to maximize your enjoyment of your watch:
1. Show can be a bit of a slow burn.
It takes a while for the various relationships and narrative arcs to be established, and it also takes a while for things to get into gear, once established. I found it worth the wait, though, so I’d say hang in there, if you find your interest slow to perk up.
2. Our characters are all flawed.
I ended up liking this a lot. Yes, this means rather messy situations, and some messed-up individuals, and it’s true that this can be a little hard to watch, at times (thus the slow burn). At the same time, for the patient, Show teases out the idea that there is love to be found, even for those of us who have made big mistakes in life, and I liked that a lot.
3. There are lashings of implausible and OTT,
..which I think would be helpful to tweak your viewing lens for. Sometimes our characters behave in somewhat odd and bizarre ways – [MINOR SPOILER] like when Vicki Zhao’s real estate agent character tries to jump a wall, because she’s forgotten the keys to the house that she’s supposed to show [END SPOILER]. I found it best to just accept these quirks as part of our story world, and roll with it.
4. Show is 10 years old,
..so the production values are not as polished as more recent offerings. I thought it was well worth adjusting my lens for it, though.
STUFF I LIKED
1. Our story world feels surprisingly organic.
What I mean is, the intertwining of the various narrative arcs works in a more natural manner, compared to the average omnibus sort of movie. In the average omnibus festive movie, the way characters are connected sometimes feels forced, and the passage of time also tends to feel rushed.
However, that’s not the case here. I think it’s partly because our story timeline isn’t forced to fit into a single day, like a Christmas or New Year-themed movie might be, and partly because the way the characters are connected is written as reasonably organic.
2. Lots of Pretty, among the cast.
I personally definitely perked up at the fact that our cast list features not one, but three, very handsome male leads: Mark Chao, Eddie Peng and Ethan Ruan. Verrry nice. 🤩🤩
Also, I know I’ve talked quite recently, about Dramaland becoming a lot less obsessed with shirtless scenes these days, but y’know, I’m not about to complain, that both Eddie Peng and Ethan Ruan deliver extended shirtless scenes in this movie. 😁😅
There’s Pretty among the ladies too, with Shu Qi and Vicki Zhao in particular, being well-known for their beauty.
3. Show isn’t shy about the messy.
I mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating, that I think it’s a plus point, that Show features messy people with messed up priorities &/or messed up lives.
It can feel a little confronting for those of us who are more used to the relatively more cleaned up and polished corners of Dramaland, but I do think that it’s ultimately a liberating message that Show offers us: that there is healing and love to be found, in even the most messed up places, by the most messed up people.
4. Ethan Ruan as Xiao Kuan
Out of all our characters, I found myself gravitating towards Xiao Kuan the most. I have a soft spot for underdogs, and Xiao Kuan is such an earnest, good-hearted, pure soul of an underdog, that I couldn’t help rooting for him, and wanting good things to happen for him.
[SPOILER ALERT] In particular, I loved how supportive he is, of his sister’s unexpected pregnancy, promising that he will take responsibility for the unborn child, for life – and meaning it. Augh. I just love him. ❤️ [END SPOILER]
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
In an omnibus festive sort of movie like this one, it’s par for the course, that pretty much everything gets wrapped up in a pretty bow, and pretty much everyone gets a happy ending.
What I appreciate about the way this show handles all of that, is that, like it is in real life, some of those pretty bows aren’t so neat, and some of the happy endings for our characters, aren’t quite in the form that they might have expected.
This makes it feel more true to life and more relatable, and I feel that this is one of Show’s strengths.
I still think that the arc between Mark Na and Xiao Ye (Mark Chao and Vicki Zhao) is a little out there, and that the fake parent thing counts as weirdly off-kilter writing, but I can’t deny that the smolder that Mark Chao wears, when his character Mark is up close and personal with Xiao Ye, is pretty darn compelling.
I didn’t feel this arc as much as the other ones, but my interest level was very much sustained, thanks to Mark and his effortlessly low-key yet very present smolder. 🤩
The arc around rich older guy Chao Ping (Doze Niu – who is also this movie’s screenwriter and director, wow!) was one that I found very touching.
I really appreciated that Chao Ping’s love breakthrough, has to do with realizing that wanting the best for Zoe (Shu Qi), is the best way to love her, even if that best has nothing to do with him. That’s one of the most selfless acts of love we see in this story world, and I found this very touching.
I also appreciate that it’s Chao Ping’s selfless push, that nudges Zoe towards actually taking action, when she sees Xiao Kuan again, at that wedding reception.
The impromptu proposal and exchange of vows, with the makeshift rings, is cute and all, but more than the happiness of this couple per se, I’m just so thrilled for Xiao Kuan, that his dream girl – the love of his life – is back, and he gets to be happy with her, finally. Aw.
I also thought it was a pretty great callback, that when Xiao Kuan promises to take care of her, Zoe echoes Xiao Kuan’s earlier words to her, that she doesn’t accept support – only love. That’s honestly pretty perfect. ❤️
The other arc that I found very touching, is how the messy love triangle gets resolved.
I’d honestly had my doubts about how this one would work out, considering the fact that Yi Jia (Ivy Chen) is pregnant with her best friend’s (Amber Kuo) boyfriend’s (Eddie Peng) baby. I’d found it hard to imagine a scenario where these relationships could be salvaged – and yet, Show manages it.
I like that Ah Kai finally faces up to the responsibilities of fatherhood, and I’m glad that he and Yi Jia decide that they will co-parent the baby, without being involved in a romantic relationship with each other. And, I’m glad that Xiao Ni (Amber Kuo) not only finds it in her heart to forgive Ah Kai and Yi Jia, but even goes so far as to ask to be the baby’s godmother.
Ah, wow. That is deep, y’all.
There’s so much forgiveness and grace in this picture, and it blows my mind that it’s forgiveness and grace, that has allowed a uniquely beautiful and blended family, to come out of what had looked like an irrevocably messy situation.
I love this idea, that love can conquer even the biggest and deepest of sins, and I’m so glad, that this is the thoughtful, uplifting, profound note that Show leaves us on. ❤️
THE FINAL VERDICT:
A bit of a slow-burn, but works out to be earthy, warm and relatable, overall.
FINAL GRADE: B+
You can check out a subbed trailer on YouTube here.
WHERE TO WATCH:
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