By: Catherine I. Ibarrientos

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Classic love story that goes beyond distance.

        Attending the Spring Film Festival this year at EDSA Shangri-la Plaza was definitely worthwhile. As part of the celebration for Chinese New Year, I’ve got the chance to watch one of the featured movies in the week-long event which is entitled, “Book of Love”. This is the second installment of Xue Xiaolu’s Finding Mr. Right that was released internationally on May 2016.

        With Helene Hanff’s “84 Charing Cross Road” as the grounds of their romance, the two lead characters, Jiao (played by Tang Wei) – a Macau casino hostess and Daniel (played by Wu Xiubo) – a real-estate broker based in LA, fell in love with each other through paper. Inspired by the deliberate love story of New York writer Helene and English bookseller Frank, the adventure towards looking for ‘the one’ begins.

        One thing that has been obvious in the film is the coherence and consistency of each of the actors’ lines shown through simple yet unpretentious, genuine scenes. In the earlier parts, Jiao told her stepmother, Ling (played by Kara Hui) that a fortune teller predicted that her soul mate is a real-estate magnate. The long distance relationship created between Jiao and Daniel justified this spiel.  Moreover, Ling pointed out that a good man cannot be found in a casino. Jiao’s failed relationships involving men who gambled in casino attest to her stepmom’s statement.

        The effortless convergence of traditional and classic culture with the modern customs is another element of this masterpiece. Feng Shui is especially the key concern of the Chinese people in buying a house. In addition, the usage of Chinese archetypal as well as famous proverbs and poems become the prevalent component in the film. More importantly, the notion of handwritten letters and old-fashioned mailing is the core reason why the writers have done a great job in the script and in the whole story concept.

        Book of Love is undoubtedly patronized by international audiences as it intercepts the language barrier and instead focused on catching human emotions. Mr. Lin (played by Paul Chun) and his wife embodied a couple worthy to be called ‘relationship goals’. Humour and sarcasm, warmth and affection, respect and loyalty – these are the values they have humbly displayed throughout the story. The old couple also served as the bridge for the two main actors’ way to self-realization.

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        Discussing the central theme of the movie, Jiao and Daniel’s love encompasses the vastness of places and mode of communication between them. The very moment wherein they got to picture out the image of their pen pal, they were able to understand and relate to each other. Whenever they face struggles in life as well as instances of optimism and hope, they consider themselves as a rock for each other, too. Without any hesitation, one can feel the deep connection between the two as they fell in love amidst interrupted exchange of letters. As the story progressed, both of them have decided to be the best version of themselves which provides a message of inspiration to those who are still on their road to finding their real identity.

         I must say, and most of the film’s fanatic might agree, that the supporting actors have shown their exceptional and stellar performances in keeping up with their respective roles. From the old couple, to Daniel’s clients, down to the love flings of Jiao, they have prepared very well to make every character unique from each other.

        Cinematography-wise, the overall video quality was brilliant. Although there are scenes that lack stability of camera angles and shots, especially the latter portion of the film, the visuals and the colors give off realistic and lifelike vibes. This film, I believe, could still be enhanced to compete with other outstanding cinematic movies. Commendable are the efforts of the music scorers who gave the viewers goosebumps while watching the Book of Love. Every single song and instrumentals are flawless, fitting perfectly with each scenes. What has been admirable is the impeccable timing in melodic inputs as well as the combination of Chinese and English language songs, placing regal and chicness in it.

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        Thomas, the bookstore owner in the story, is the climax and the big reveal in the film. His character played an immense role in bringing two strangers as one. The love genie’s quotable phrase, “The slow process of finding true love is something that is best savoured”, is undeniably a life-lesson that human should always bear in mind. It provides motivation to patiently wait for the right time and the right person.

        It may be my love for books and romantic novels but Book of Love is one heck of a great, moving work of art. Just like how Jiao and Daniel finally met at 84 Charing Crossroad in London, this film is magical and beautifully unique in its sense. If one wishes to watch a movie that would make you feel all of the deepest sentiments of mankind, this film is at the top of the list.

To watch the official movie trailer of Finding Mr. Right 2 (Book of Love), click the link here:


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