Movie Review: This is Not What I Expected

Full Review 

Name: This is Not What I Expected 喜欢你
Director/writer: Derek Hui / produced by: Peter Chan & Xu Yuezhen
Release date: 2017
Number of episodes: 1 (Movie)
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Food
Based on Manga: Yes, Finally I Get You written by Lan Bai Se

What drew me in to watch it: I somehow stumbled across the trailer and became captivated by the whole style, feel, and characters fantastic. After months of feverishly searching I was able to watch it.

Summary: 29-year-old Gu Sheng Nan, is a chef at a western restaurant in a hotel. She is in a secret relationship with the hotel’s general manager. After a financial crisis hits the hotel, her boyfriend breaks up with her, and she loses her job.  In this state of distress, there is serendipitous encounter with the picky and arrogant Lu Jin (who happens to be the new owner of the hotel). These polar opposite people connect through a passion for meticulously prepared food.   cooked food. Will the tantalizing aroma and taste bring the 
The good: 
The movie has a distinct style. The technical goodies include tantalizing camera angles, such as symmetric close ups. The color palate, props, and locations add a delicious cherry on top. One of my favorite locations takes place in the restaurant Jin chases Nan. The camera angles are perfection. The restaurant’s sophisticated ambiance, makes me want to jump into the movie to have dinner there. It’s a subtle location, but, caught my attention in such a way that I rewatched the scene multiple times. All that said, the fusion of the technical aspect, story, script, locations, actors, color palette create an eye-catching and unique movie.

Surprisingly, my favorite character is Zi Qian (Nan’s boyfriend/ex-boyfriend). Tong Yang has an effortless and strong on screen presence. His character is a little ridiculous, he’s charming self-centered. But his enjoyment of Nan’s dishes and their chemistry add a pop of fun, and a humorous start to the movie. With cheek, he tries to reignite the flame and in return receives a delightful. There is no malice between them and he supports her cooking, and is the one getting her to cook for the hotel owner.

The main couple’s relationship is quite fun. He is demanding and does what he wants, ect. coming over to her house and then she is so easy going, she sort of just rolls with it, however, she does start getting pretty fed up with how he is messing up with her routine. But they had this deep love for precise cooking that keeps them connected and likes some sort of kindred spirits.

The not so good: Sadly there are a number of doozies. The last third of the story feels a little choppy. It’s not a smooth drink, like the first half. It jumps from one thing to the next. The cracks in chemistry between leads show. Especially Takeshi, he so meticulously stays in character that it takes from the forming relationship and a true bond between them. I felt that a movie is too short to really portray his character and transformation and the love and comfort that awakened him to be more “human” and acknowledge his emotions. Sheng Nan, also felt a little choppy, she has this incredible savant-like knowledge and understanding of food, yet her lifestyle shows no hint that she traveled to Italy (to get that recipe only passed down from women to women). Her surrounding doesn’t support her skill. She us also quite immature. I am disappointing that we didn’t see anything deeper or growth or maturity. Maybe that is her character.  The main quality her skill, knowledge, and intelligence does not seem compatible or word together with how she carried her self and illogical yelling outburst – towards the end. She is overly caricatured. She is a caricature, too much soo. Would have turned her down a little- to suit the story better.

Didn’t care too much for the relationship of the second lead, there wasn’t enough substance.

Who are the main characters? Who plays them?
Gu Sheng Nan played by Zhou Dong Yu
Lu Jin played by Kaneshiro Takeshi
Xiao Meng played by Sean Sun
Cheng Zi Qian played by Tong Yang (ex boyfriend)

Theme: Be yourself, follow your passions and be ready for some curveballs! 

What it’s good for:  Once your popcorn is ready and perfectly salted, sit back and enjoy a good old movie.


In the new Drama Delight shop, you’ll find a delightful bookmark and postcard.

 

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