Reviewing NYAFF 2015: Cafe. Waiting. Love

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Romantic comedies in the US follow a pretty standard story line. The main heroine (clueless/naive/good/clumsy) is in a big city (New York/Boston/LA/London) has a job  (magazine editor/unclear desk job) meets the hero ( well muscled/clueless/stubborn) in an unrealistic happenstance resulting in an unrealistic movie story with a happy ending. I am a ridiculous sucker for them and have quite a few favorites (Like, say,  Bridget Jone’s Diary)

All the same, the last decent (now read that again, decent) romantic comedies I can think of are Knocked Up and Zack and Miri Make a Porno, both of which star Seth Rogen which amuses me to no end. Now everyone is making comic book movies. I’m not exactly heartbroken about that–I love Thor, but I do miss my feel good romantic comedies.Taiwan seems to taking up the slack and has created this zany, beautiful movie that left me with a huge smile. For example, Taiwan Cinema Now and the New York Asian Film Festival  are bringing Cafe. Waiting. Love to the American audience.

This movie is pretty zany. There are sausages popping out of peoples heads, a guy running around holding a cabbage while wearing a bikini, gangsters, and hot coffee. In the midst of all this craziness, there is this story so full of emotion that you can almost feel your heart straining out of your chest.

Our heroine, Si-ying (played by Vivian Sung) is just starting college in the liberal arts department. She and her hard-headed friend (literally–the friend is trying out to be in a club where they smash bricks with their heads) listen to urban legends (college legends?) of a student who roller skates in a bikini while holding a cabbage.  In an almost Pride and Prejudice moment, Si-Ying deems the strange legend (whose name is A-Tuo) a pervert and moves on. As with all rom-coms, it takes a random happenstance moment for the love interests to meet. In a twist of fate, Si-Ying comes face to face with a gorgeous man whom she follows into a cafe called Cafe. Waiting. Love. There she signs up for employment despite not knowing a thing a about coffee. It is her sense of justice in defending the appearance of A-Tuo as he’s being teased by his friends that earns her the job.

From this point, I expected the movie to become a soft atmospheric movie as she pines away for the gorgeous man and musters up the courage to take the next step. Nope. The movie just adds further weird yet functional elements to the story. Every thing that was presented as a bizarre element has a sweet meaning behind it all. Stories of loyalty, love, loss, happiness. and grief are all there in this movie.

There was a major happy grin on my face by the end of the film. Taiwan, congrats on presenting such a wonderful rom-com!

The movie will screen on July 9th at the Beatrice Theater in New York.

 

 

 

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