An easy-going Thai movie about the need to let go of the past that gets the balance between comedy and serious drama just about right.
Dir. Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit
2020 | Thailand | Drama/Comedy | 113 mins | Thai
PG13 (passed clean) for some coarse language
Cast: Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Sunny Suwanmethanont, Sarika Sathsilpsupa
Plot: A woman wants to reorganise her house and convert it into a home office. However, she faces a great challenge when she comes across some items that belonged to her ex-boyfriend.
Awards: Official Selection (Rotterdam)
International Sales: GDH 559 (SG: Golden Village Pictures)
Subject Matter: Moderate
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Audience Type: Slightly Mainstream
Viewed: The Projector
For those who still can’t get over the fact that the past is history and that there is no more reason to dwell upon it may find this Thai comedy-drama by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (Heart Attack, 2015; Die Tomorrow, 2017) corn soup for the weary soul.
Starring Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying (of 2017’s Bad Genius fame) as Jean, a young woman who wants to rid her house of old items and reorganise her living quarters into a new office, Happy Old Year sees her trying to come to terms with a failed romantic relationship with her ex-boyfriend after encountering past artifacts of their sweet innocent love many years ago.
Using the concept of ‘Marie Kondo-ing’ as a setup for a film about the need to let go of the past, the filmmaker milks out, though rarely manipulatively, emotions associated with both good and bad memories that may never be forgotten.
Chutimon’s performance is excellent in this regard and is the emotional anchor of the entire film. Her character’s brother and friends provide adequate comic relief, but when it is time to be serious, Nawapol balances it out just about right.
His use of lingering shots is effective, and I think mainstream audiences will mostly buy in to his filmmaking style here, which is deliberately-paced but never feels too slow.
Personally, I love to keep memorabilia and gifts from the past, even if they produce bad, hurtful memories, because they were used to be imbued with so much love.
In this sense, the film’s title very much expresses my feelings toward the subject matter, even if the film itself chronicles a different perspective.