MOVIE REVIEW: THE JOURNEY; TRULY 笑迎感动

The Journey, 一路有你; a movie very much liked and enjoyed by almost every Malaysian I asked who has watched it. Make that every Malaysian I asked, actually.

Ok lah, no need for me to review already like that. Haha.

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Where should I even begin?

Let’s begin with how right from when the movie started, it has successfully managed to continuously surprise me pleasantly (wah so many -lys here) with its local antics… of emotional and yet funny, relatable scenes… till the very end.

The Journey depicts how a conservative, traditional old Chinese man and his daughter’s fiance, who’s a foreigner, learned to compromise with one another.

When Bee (daughter) graduated and came home from the UK, she brought along her beau Benji, and news that they are getting married – to which her father (Uncle Chuan) was not happy about. But realizing he can’t change her mind, he agreed to the marriage, on condition that they have to organize a wedding dinner, or luncheon in this case, and have at least 50 tables, in his own words. Benji also had to send out the invitations personally with Bee’s father, one by one. And the journey of them doing so has seen both men from different worlds accepting and comprising one another.

If I could break down into the few points below as to why I love the movie so much:

  • There are values and meaning behind it: Respect (孝顺) towards elderlies or filial piety, to learn to compromise with one another, to be open and willing to be exposed other cultures, and thus comes understanding and accepting, to treasure friendship, and to take life less seriously.
  • The importance of upholding traditions and culture: I believe no matter what race you belong to, and no mater how ‘modern’ you’ve become, you should at least maintain respect towards your own traditions and culture. Simple things like having meals together, gather or help out your loved ones during important festive dates. A person who is forward thinking and yet has his roots in-tact is so sexy to me. And I know that the man I were to marry in the future has to be like this too. Open to the modern way of life and yet stays grounded and have strong family values.
  • The acting was so, so real: They may not be perfect, but it’s refreshing to see acting that may not be 100% polished, like Hollywood. Not to say I don’t like Hollywood, I do, but I also like this other part of acting. Apparently none of the casts have acting experiences, save for Andrew Pfeiffer, who is an Australian stage actor. And apparently Pfeiffer said as he wanted to be genuinely moved (in acting) by the Chinese traditions and culture, he chose not to read on them prior to filming this. Best goes to the 73 year old Frankie Lee though!
  • I can relate to the languages: I like how in this movie, all Chinese dialects gel together and yet one understands one another! It’s so beautiful, seeing different parts of Malaysia with different dialects spoken, all with localized slang some more. Deep inside me I’m still super Cina though I don’t show it. I speak Hokkien to my grandmother at home, I speak Cantonese when ordering food and to some bosses, and I speak mandarin to my mandarin-speaking friends.
  • Very Malaysian ‘feel’ to it: Well duh, it’s filmed in parts in Malaysia with mostly Malaysian casts, you’d say! But no, it’s more than that. I like how the acts and rituals e.g. the bai ti gong at the clan jetty in Penang, he responses one gave to another, the jokes, and the Chinese ‘ego’ (爱面子) are so… Malaysian.

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What I used to do as vice class monitor (副班长) back in primary 6! Haha.

A few of my favourite scenes in the movie include: Uncle Chuan said if his daughter were to get married, he will at least have 50 tables and send out each and every invitation or he will be shot by lightning (I thought that was so touching despite his ‘ego’), when he cooked noodles for her for their joined birthdays, when the old men came together and relieved memories, when everyone came together and built the hot air balloon, and when Benji got a car for them both.

Some Pictures and Quotes I selected from The Journey’s facebook page and Joshua Ong’s blog:

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爱需要谅解, 也需要妥协// Love requires understanding, and also compromise

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争吵之候, 要更了解对方, 那才值得// To seek to understand one another better after a quarrel, then that’s worth it [the quarrel]

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爱是我们之间, 唯一不说的语言// Love is the only unspoken language between us

[I teared during this part when young Bee was sent away overseas. Somehow it’s a Chinese thing that parents don’t express their love explicitly to their children, but that does not mean they do not love you]

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相处, 是接受对方的第一步// Getting along or spending time is the first step towards accepting one another

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顿时的领悟, 比任何事情更难得// A spur of the moment realization beats any other form of… well, realization.

[This was when Benji realized that he wants and is ready to be a father]

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儿时的玩伴, 是真挚的友谊// Sincere friendship found amongst childhood friends

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默默的付出, 也是对爱的一种表现// Love is also shown in subtle ways

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有些事情, 只有放下了才能接受// There are some things where only by letting it go, can you begin to accept

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最在乎的事, 往往最难说出口// More often than not, we find it hard to speak out things that matter most to us

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家, 是永远的方向// Home is there [or should be the direction] for you forever

Overall, The Journey’s very entertaining, with a good combination of light-hearted jokes and tear-filling scenes. Truly 笑迎感动. I’m not gonna lie, I teared. (And so did you, most probably. Don’t 假假 haha)

News have reported that The Journey is the highest grossing local movie of all time,  and has raked in RM13 million as at end February. A big WELL DONE to the director Chiu Keng Guan and team!

Here’s hoping to more movies like these in the future.

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