Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Leap Years

Based on the novella by local Singaporean author, Catherine Lim, this is an English movie attempt by homegrown label, Mediacorp's movie arm - Raintree.

The Leap Years is about a hardworking studious girl, Li-Ann (the younger version played by Wong Li Lin; the elder lady by Joan Chen) whose birthday is on February 29. Being always teased by her friends, she finally fell in love with a stranger, Jeremy (Ananda Everingham) on one of her birthdays.

She is 'heartbroken' as the meet with Jeremy is only short as he had to fly home, and their next meet was 4 years next. This continues despite the fact that there are others interested in Li-Ann, and she even nearly got wed. However, her heart seems to have sealed with Jeremy.

At the same time the movie brings forward to the present on one day, which sees Li-Ann already married with Jeremy, and hoping for him to recover from the hospital.

Shot entirely in Singapore, and in the more hip areas, this movie showcase the modern & heritage part of the island-city (places like the Esplanade, central business district, CBD). Unlike most other Singapore films, this one clearly minus the HDB flats - giving the city the postcard views, just like what the tourism is promoting.

It does showcase a true part of the lifestyles of the middle-upper class Singporeans to one extend. The English used also sounds quite local - minus the slangs of 'lei' & 'lor' - the type of English you will hear when in business meetings. And Wong Li Lin has the looks to portray the typical career girl here - modern and successful. The only part that doesnt really reflect Singapore is the use of Cantonese in between, rather than the more popular Hokkien dialect. This is most likely done for 2 reasons - Cantonese is more marketable and secondly, to give the more 'atas'/ high class image.

This English movie attempt is worth the watch. And I was surprised the cinema was fully packed.

The only minus is that as the movie didn't managed to show how different the past & modern Singapore. Each 4 years still looked pretty similar, which is something not quite true in this fast changing city. And the movie does get a lil draggy at times as well.

Saying all these, this is one good step to more Singapore English movies to come, and hopefully like they say, will later bring them an acclaimed Oscar award.