labe- The Story of 90 Coins (2015) charmingly explores the promises of love - Oh So Geeky

The Story of 90 Coins (2015) charmingly explores the promises of love

When people in fall in love, we tend to make a lot of promises. But what happens when love itself is can't be kept? Director Michael Wong makes his directorial debut with The Story of 90 Coins, a beautifully charming story that tells so many sides of falling in love - how it is a commitment, the fresh spark which fades away, and the complications of regret.

A young man Wang Yuyang (Han Dongjun) wants to be with Chen Wen, a young aspiring fashion designer, for the rest of their lives. But she doesn't feel the same way. At first he makes a promise to prove his love to her for 90 days. Every time they meet each other, he gives her a coin. At the end of the deadline, if she still feels the same way they will merely use the coins to toast each other farewell. Otherwise, they'll eventually use it for marriage. Somewhere along the way a relationship blossoms between them and the promise of the coins falls away. But Chen isn't fully committed in the relationship as he is; she's aiming to own a house in the city and take her fashion career to the next level, thus calling into question what happens when love needs to be more than a promise.

For a film that runs less than ten minutes, it's simple and straightforward as well as absolutely charming and sweet. When jumping into this world briefly, the production design is luscious with every frame beautifully framed for a much bigger and longer motion picture. Of which the actors, Han Dongjun and Zhuang Zhiqi are marvelous. As their characterss similarities and differences are explored, they deliver such endearing and well-rounded performances. Immediately, their chemistry is infectious, and it would be great to see them in a wider format of movies. It's easy to feel everything they do with every high and low of their relationship.

It's difficult not to walk away from this love story without harboring a lot of feelings to ruminate. The coins act as their "in" for falling in love and marking the wonderful memories they made. A promise of love is alluring and might lead to something bigger and grander, but relationships also require understanding and engagement from both sides. The parallel of Yuyang and Wen falling in love and growing distant tugs at heartstrings in all of the right places.

The film fills in a lot for nine and a half minutes, which works for and against the movie's favor. As simple and poetic as the simple piano score by Wei An is, at times, it felt distracting and repetitive, taking me out of the journey wonderfully portrayed by the actors. The other issue belongs slightly to the script which crops up a lot of questions about the couple without feeling like they're properly answered. The story itself could've used a bit of fine-tuning in terms of conflict or exploring more of the disconnect between Wang and Chen. Depending on where your heart lies on whether or not the couple should or can stay together, the ending can feel abrupt. But otherwise, there's so little significant downfalls to pick through.

As a directorial debut, The Story of 90 Coins is an impressive short film. Wong and the cast have earned top prizes at prestigious festivals around the world since it premiered in 2015. Having previously been an art and creative director in the advertisement, there are influences of that department throughout the short a little heavily, but it still manages to be remarkably well-rounded. Speaking to the complications and joys of falling in love, the story is truly touching with two supremely talented leads and gorgeous production design. If you guys want to watch, it's available on Vimeo.

Rating: ★★☆
Have you watched The Story of 90 Coins?
What did you think?

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