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Moneyboys taiwanese drama review
17 people found this review helpful
by taiwanfunan
Nov 22, 2021
Completed 1
Overall 8.0
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 9.0

Artsy gay film with somber vibe

I watched this film yesterday at a special Q&A screening in Taipei. I was pretty stoked, since LGBT+ films, especially in Asia, are few and far between. I'm writing this review from the perspective of a gay guy who watches way too much BL, and not an indie film enthusiast, so if you are looking for an in-depth critique of the film, look elsewhere. I'd just like to give a short overview of what I watched to see if you would be interested in giving it a try.

As the first major gay film released in Taiwan since Your Name Engraved, I couldn't help myself from wanting to compare the films. However, they couldn't be more different. Moneyboys is a character study, not a narrative-driven romantic film. Ko does an excellent job as the reserved, emotionally suppressed Fei.

The cinematography was beautiful, and a lot of thought went into the techniques and style of the film. The movie was set in southern China, but filmed in Taiwan, which might be jarring if you have been to Taiwan and recognize some of the filming locations. Additionally, some actors are Chinese, while others are Taiwanese; if you are familiar with Mandarin, you may notice the different dialects of Mandarin between the characters. Some of the mainland accents are faked, while others are real.

Should you watch the film? If you are a BL fan who just wants a cookie-cutter romantic film, then stay away. But if you enjoy artsy films, then I would definitely recommend it. I'm guessing people's opinions of this film will be pretty polarized. But it's worth giving it a shot. Personally, I felt like something was missing from the film, as many of the themes (rural vs urban life, Chinese family values, guilt and shame) are trite. But the lead actor's performance and his ability to make me sympathize with his character were enough to leave a positive opinion in my mind the next day.

I'm not sure if and when this will be released in other countries, but I think because it's a co-production with Austria, it should at least be shown in some European countries. Maybe it'll even appear on Netflix eventually. If you have any other questions about the film feel free to ask.
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