By Lim Yian Lu
Rating: NC16 (Some sexual scenes and coarse language)
Length: 96 minutes
Director: Blue Lan
Cast: Leo Tsai, Kuo Shu-yau, Blue Lan, Tien Niu, Zhang Ting-hu, Fan Guang-yao
A Fool In Love, Love Like A Fool is a mouthful to say, but like its title suggests, the movie is about Xiang-wei (portrayed by Leo Tsai), “a fool” who falls in love with Blue, who he thinks is a mermaid (portrayed by Kuo Shu-yau). As a person with Down’s Syndrome, Xiang-wei is well taken care of by his mother (portrayed by Tien Niu), who hopes that he can take care of himself in his daily life eventually.
Xiang-wei, who comes from a reputable and wealthy family, has a favourite picture book about a Forest Prince and a mermaid, drawn by Kauff (portrayed by Blue Lan). He identifies himself as Forest Prince and hopes to find his mermaid. One day, Xiang-wei ends up at the beach where he meets Blue swimming towards the shore. He immediately associates her with the mermaid in the picture book and decides to become the Forest Prince and give her all his love.
Although in the beginning Blue does not care about Xiang-wei, she eventually is moved by his innocence and pure love and care for her, and takes a liking to him. But their relationship meets with obstacles, since Blue works as a prostitute. On the other hand, Xiang-wei’s family begins to break apart as his mother has been paying extra attention to him and becomes oblivious to the needs of Xiang-wei’s younger brother (portrayed by Zhang Ting-hu) and father (portrayed by Fan Guang-yao).
It is finally up to the author of the picture book Kauff to help his number-one fan Xiang-wei, who revived his confidence in drawing. What will Kauff do to “create the happy ending” for Xiang-wei?
The movie has a simple plot that has occasional humorous and heartwarming parts. From Xiang-wei’s point of view, “bad things are not too bad. After bad things, good things will come.” He was bullied by others which resulted in him reaching the beach and meeting the mermaid of his dreams. Even in the ending of the picture book, the Forest Prince and the mermaid did not get to be together, but Xiang-wei still thinks that it is a happy ending for their hearts are together. Perhaps, it is because of such a positive mindset that Xiang-wei gets to live a carefree life, as opposed to the people around him worrying over a variety of things like money and marriage.
A Fool In Love also marks the debut work of Blue Lan as a director. Previously, he had established his actor status in Taiwan, after having won Best Leading Actor in the 50th Golden Bell Awards for his performance in 2014 Taiwanese television series Apple In Your Eye. While his debut directorial work is not extraordinary, it is still a decent drama which many will come to appreciate, especially with a simple yet touching theme like this.
Coupled with the immersive acting of an award-winning cast like Tien Niu, Kuo Shu-yau, Blue Lan and Zhang Ting-hu, A Fool In Love, Love Like A Fool will leave you with smiles on your face and your heart full.
3 out of 5 stars
Release date (Singapore): 13 February 2020