Fong (Stephy Tang) is a shop clerk at Golden Plaza, a small plaza located in Prince Edward district that specializes in bridal shops and wedding-related businesses. Fong gets engaged to Edward, her boyfriend of seven years, and also the owner of a bridal photography store in the same mall. However, Fong is hiding a deep dark secret. Years ago, in exchange for money, she was involved in a sham marriage with a Mainland Chinese youngster Yang Shuwei, who dreams of obtaining a Hong Kong ID so he can fulfill his lifelong dream of traveling to the US. At a time when I was continually disappointed by Hong Kong cinema, My Prince Edward sweeps in and re-ignites my faith once again. The film pleasantly surprised me and I found myself engaged, laughing, and entertained. Writer-director Norris Wong has a sharp ear for dialogue and hits that perfect sweet spot between the naturalistic and choreographed snappy dialogue. The situations that are presented are done in a humorous way and adds much-needed levity to the progressively somber situations ahead. Stephy Tang plays Fong's existential crisis like numbing suffocation. It reminded me when I felt stuck in an old job and was trudging through the day waiting for it to be over and all the time just praying for something to change. Fong is a character where the emphasis is not on what she is saying but rather what she is not saying and Steph Tang tunes and underplays that very well. That said, it is Pak Hon Chu's performance as Edward that steals the film. His performance is naturalistic and multi-layered, which made for a fascinating antagonist. Edward transcends from being a movie character to a real living and breathing person. I've seen and met dudes like the Edward character in Hong Kong. And admittedly, I have been Edward at times as well. To guys who are reading this: how many times have you come home wanting to relax and play a video game and your girlfriend suddenly wants to have a serious relationship talk? Side question: did you turn off the video game? My Prince Edward gave me two opposing feelings. I was 50% cinema lover and 50% concerned Hong Kong citizen. First, I am elated that a local filmmaker was able to paint such a reflective portrait of a generational mindset and turn it into commercial art. It's presented with humor and grace and arguably the best Hong Kong film I have seen since Still Human. This growing trend of intimate arthouse dramas makes me feel that Hong Kong cinema is beginning to take shape and carve a new path for itself. I hope My Prince Edward will be remembered come awards season next year. The local citizen in me is deeply concerned. The thought that this is the mindset of the youth in my neck of the woods makes me want to slowly shut my eyes and let a long wailing sigh out of my balcony into the nightly Hong Kong cityscape. While I can empathize and fully relate to Fong's predicament, I disagree with this bummer mindset. If anybody in their twenties relates to the main character Fong's existential turmoil, it is not the be-all and end-all. It's a solvable problem. Surely, there's more hope out there... I do wonder if Norris Wong has a sequel story in mind to the Fong character. There is an opportunity there to offer a follow-up to what happens with this generational mindset, perhaps to offer a perspective or hope or a vision of where it can lead to. Whatever Norris Wong may or may not want to do with it, the opportunity is there. I am interested to see what she does next. Lastly, I feel glum for the various business owners of bridal shops in Golden Plaza. There's a movie out there now that very effectively presents their livelihood as a symbolic prison of sadness.
My Prince Edward
My Prince Edward
A story on a woman struggling on whether to enter into a marriage or not.
November 12, 2020