Tuesday, February 26, 2019

On Happiness Road - 2019 SAAFF Movie Review

The Movie: On Happiness Road

The Director: Hsin-Yin Sung

The Cast: Lun-Mei Kwei, Te-Sheng Wei, Bor Jeng Chen, Hui-Jen Liao, Bella Wu

The Story: Chi earned her American dream after persevering with her studies in Taiwan. Following her grandmothers' death, Chi returns to her family on Happiness Road, where she begins to feel nostalgic about her childhood and starts to contemplate the meaning of "life" and "home".

The Review:
This is one of the cutest, brightest, and happiest animated films I have seen in quite some time although that's not to say it isn't also filled with emotional depth and a ton of heart. The visual style and color pallet have a classic anime look that is very distinct and fits the story perfectly. I love the little daydream sequences that burst onto the screen from lead character Lin Shu-Chi's mind, they are easily the best comedic moments of the entire film.

Lin Shu-Chi is a young woman at a crossroads in life, torn between an uncertain future in America and a family life in Taiwan that she was happy to leave behind. Most of the drama comes from her indecision and the struggle she has with the choices she has made in life and at times it gets a bit heavy for a movie that starts out so light hearted and breezy. Not saying that in itself is a bad thing, but I also felt like there was a little too much exploration into this topic and the story ended up feeling redundant and really, really long. Like really long.

That being said, I really enjoyed the movie overall and thought it was a very well thought out and insightful production. Kids will love the playful nature of the characters and adults will enjoy the rich, generational story that digs deep into culture, family, and the inevitability of time.

On Happiness Road is an official selection of the 2019 Seattle Asian American Film Festival.

TwoOhSix.com coverage of the 2019 Seattle Asian American Film Festival.

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