Forever My Love

Now what is it with Brigitte Lin and her choice of men in these old Taiwanese weepies of the 1970’s? Of the ones that I have seen so far I can’t say that I approve of any of them for her. They simply are not Brigitte worthy. Of course thinking through her career I can’t think of too many match-ups that were. My favorite is perhaps Tony Leung Ka-Fai in Boys are Easy and Dragon Inn.
Here it is Alan Tang who is doing the honors. He is a spoiled rich kid – shows no respect to his elders – goes through women like tissue paper in a cold – and most irritatingly of all (to me anyway!) shovels down his food before anyone else even has their food set in front of them. For whatever reason though, Brigitte is head over heels in love with him and the feeling seems to be mutual.

They are both in University, but plan on getting married upon graduation. As is a common theme in these weepies, Alan’s father and stepmother do not approve. Brigitte does not come from the right sort of family and they have a nice high class cold hearted girl all picked out for him. 

The father finds out some dirt on Brigitte’s mother and forces them to leave Taipei, but Alan does the right thing and chases after her. In a scene that all Brigitte fans have to see – she and Alan see each other across a field and run towards each other – arms flapping – hands swinging – corny beyond belief. This is Asia the Invincible?

So all is looking lovely – but one of them starts coming down with headaches and in a Taiwanese weepie that foreshadows trouble ahead.

There is not a whole lot going on in this film – interesting primarily for seeing what type of film was the rage back in the 70’s among certain groups of the Chinese population. I have done my best from gushing once again about how stunning Brigitte looks in these old films – but she is something to behold. Every expression feels so natural and heartfelt – and heartstopping. 

My rating for this film: 5.5 
Reviewed by YTSL

Maybe I am getting used to watching the "old" (1970s to early 1980s) Taiwanese films which I am primarily checking out because they star Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia.  Or perhaps it is because my expectations have been so much lowered by previous experience of the often -- I feel compelled to say -- inadvertently (especially retrospectively) laughable efforts (For the record:  This 1976 effort is the seventh I have viewed of the 70 or so movies that Brigitte the Great made before she moved over to Hong Kong).  In any case, this production seemed so much more pleasurable than painful to watch than, say, "The Love Affair of Rainbow" or the surely bastardized version of "Amazon Commandos" that has been released and retitled as "Jackie Chan's Crime Force" by Arena.

Even more unbelievably, I must admit to having been somewhat sucked into fairly seriously following the plot of FOREVER MY LOVE.  Yes, the story of the mutual attraction and shared life of a single mother's daughter and the only son of an economically wealthy and socially respectable man takes its rather predictable -- according to that time period's Taiwanese melodramatic conventions -- twists and turns.  It is also beyond doubt that the male  protagonist will not fare well when held to high, contemporary or Western standards (One has to groan and -- if only for the sake of this movie -- try not to get TOO annoyed at hearing him proclaim to the young woman he  professes to love that:  "When a girl says no, she means yes").  But all that doesn't really matter or unduly mar my viewing pleasure because the film's main female character is made by Brigitte Lin to be so sweet, adorable and winning that you, the viewer, will want everything that she wants to happen and come true!

Granted that I was a Brigittephile before I saw this movie but OH MY GOD...all those who do take a look at FOREVER MY LOVE will surely agree that the young Lin Ching-Hsia one beholds there is the kind of fresh-faced cutie that people will invariably feel a need to protect (from all kinds of bad in the world) and an urge to please!!  When the character played by Alan Tang exasperatedly tells his girlfriend "[y]ou're divine.  You're Joan of Arc"(!), he was referring to her being too nice and caring for others at the expense of herself; rather than because she had the ability of either "The Bride with White Hair" to slice a man in seconds into seven pieces with her whip or Asia the Invincible to get the hearts of people to burst out of their bodies at his/her/its (!!!) command.  A(n additional) note to other Brigitte Lin fans:  You MUST see the actress in her Taiwanese movies as well as in warrior roles and (other) modes to fully realize her considerable expressive range, incredible talent and wondrous beauty.  There really also are those priceless moments that just ought not to be missed...which include a married couple's extremely unromantic frolicking on a bouncy bed, the look on a wife's face when she announces that she's accidentally burnt the rice and the numerous pouts as well as smiles of someone who I am sure that a plethora of Taiwanese males at the time wished really WAS the girl next door.
On a less Brigitte Lin-centric note:  FOREVER MY LOVE also distinguishes itself in being one of the few Chinese language movies I have seen in which people of European descent are presented positively as well as "normally"; as able to function in a non-Western society on the host community's -- particular combined "Westernized" and traditional Chinese -- terms.  For example, at a social gathering in which some of the women play mahjong while the others and men drink and shoot the breeze, certain of the Taiwanese are the more boorish as well as chauvinistic of the people in the place.  I also think that by far the second most sympathetic character in the entire movie was foreign languages student Brigitte's non-Chinese roommate (who, in some ways, conformed more to traditional Chinese ideals of a good girl and student than her friend!).

My rating for the film:  6.