Always Be My Maybe (2019). The movie really takes off in the second half, the first is all foreplay -- everything you'd expect in a rom-com. It elevates my view on the production. I still wish they'd cut straight to the chase, but it's a win for us people of color either way. From The Big Sick (2017) to Crazy Rich Asians (2018) to Aladdin (2019) to this, I love how warm, how wise, how grounded, how light yet meaningful these Asian romances are.
The second half is what makes the film a noteworthy rom-com. It's a deep dive into the ideas of compromise, expectations, internal security, roles, and relationship dynamics, not to mention between two modern-day Asian-Americans; but it's special because it's so richly realistic and it resonates. ("I wanna be the guy who holds your purse" > "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her". Fight me.) On top of all, home, love, and family are still the anchor the leads carry from their upbringing, and though the times are changing, they show that it's going to work as long as you're willing to work it out.
The movie also incorporates diversity, inclusivity, and progress of this evolving world without ever being preachy or over-the-top or annoying. It normalizes them affectionately and playfully.
Now Keanu Reeves is having his own "McConnaissance" (should we call it "Reevenaissance"? Nah), and maybe for good reason. He's the highlight of this movie. His arrival on the screen marks the change of direction the second half undertakes. They even make a whole song about him and you know what, maybe he earns it.
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