“Marry My Dead Body is a fun dark comedy that is also a surprisingly touching story. This film sends a beautiful message of love and acceptance. Its leads Hsu Kuang Han and Austin Lin are both exceptional in their own way.”
Marry My Dead Body is a Taiwanese supernatural crime comedy. The film premiered at the 2022 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, it’s the largest film festival in Taiwan. It was then released earlier this year in its home country and Netflix has now released it internationally.
Wu Ming-Han (Hsu Kuang Han also known as Greg Hsu) is a homophobic and ghost-phobic policeman. While collecting evidence, he accidentally picks up a red wedding envelope. This betroths him to Mao Pang-Yu/Mao Mao (Austin Lin), a gay man who died in a hit-and-run accident. Wu Ming-Han is forced to marry the ghost of Mao Mao. (Same-sex marriages are legal in Taiwan since May 2019). The duo has to work through their differences and join forces to seek justice for Mao. But trying to solve the case also leads them to a drug case Wu Ming-Han previously worked on.
A MESSAGE OF ACCEPTANCE
Honestly, I didn’t have much expectations for this film. Judging from the trailer, I expected a decent ghost comedy but nothing more. However, I can say I have been pleasantly surprised with how this film turned out. Undoubtedly, it delivers with its humour incorporating elements of dark comedy. It’s a lot of fun and quite silly too with the homophobic policeman being forced into a ghost marriage with a gay man. Before the marriage, a series of misfortunes happen to Wu Ming-Han and you can’t stop cheering because he gets what he deserves for being a bigot. On top of that, Ming-Han’s first interactions with Mao Mao are also quite hilarious. Ming-Han often finds himself in ridiculous situations, talking to a ghost in public can be tricky. The film mocks Ming-Han’s outdated views. As you can guess, this is not the duo anyone would expect.
But, the film isn’t about opposing these two characters all the way to the end. In fact, Ming-Han’s wedding with Mao Mao opens his mind. It teaches him about tolerance. He comes to care about Mao Mao and thanks to him, he becomes a better man. While this starts as an unlikely duo, this turns into a duo that we come to appreciate and support. Both characters really care about each other. Their relationship doesn’t need to be defined, they are simply happy with each other.
All in all, this film sends a beautiful message of acceptance. Additionally, it is surprising to see Mao Mao’s grandmother (Wang Man-Chiao) being so supportive of him being gay and actually going to pride with him. You don’t often see senior citizens being supportive of LGBT people. Mao Chen A-lan is definitely the hidden MVP of this film.
A TOUCHING STORY
Moreover, I didn’t expect this film to make me cry. Beyond the comedy, it is actually a touching story. You need tissues for this one. I love how this film can make you laugh in one scene and make you cry in the next one. Mao Mao is still on Earth as a ghost because he has unfinished business. The film explores his previous romantic relationship and his complicated relationship with his father (Tuo Tsung-hua). Both him and his father have things they need to say to each other to be at peace. On top of that, Mao Mao’s relationship with Ming-Han becomes deeply moving.
This film has the right balance between the comedy and the drama. In the middle of that, it also has time for the crime aspect with the duo trying to solve the double case. This storyline is interesting and comes with a nice twist.
Furthermore, the leading duo played by Greg Hsu and Austin Lin is truly exceptional. The two actors develop a chemistry that is really adorable. Greg Hsu brings duality in his performance. At the beginning, he is despicable as the homophobic policeman. But as his character changes, his performance also changes showcasing the humanity and compassion of his character. While Austin Lin delivers a fun, sweet and poignant performance as the ghost Mao Mao.
VISUALS & SOUNDTRACK
Marry My Dead Body has an impressive high speed car chase at the beginning. This sequence like the other action scenes are stylized. It’s a refreshing to watch these because you don’t often see action scenes filmed and edited that way. In addition, the film showcases the beautiful scenery of Taiwan and makes the most of it.
Kay Liu has composed a score that at times can move you during the dramatic scenes while raise the adrenaline for the action scenes. His score also tends towards the horror/scary vibe for some of the early ghost scenes.
Several of Jolin Tsai songs are used. She has also composed and performed the theme song ‘Untitled.’ This is a song that talks about the different stages of the process of being in love. It starts with ambiguity and confusion and ends with acceptance and enlightening. The title of the song refers to a relationship that doesn’t need to be defined but that has found its ideal state. This perfectly captures the relationship between Wu Ming-Han and Mao Mao. I couldn’t think of a more beautiful and fitting theme for this film. I also recommend watching the music video of this song as in a way it can serve as a prequel to the film. It explores the bond between Mao Mao and his grandmother.
Marry My Dead Body is a fun dark comedy that is also a surprisingly touching story. This film sends a beautiful message of love and acceptance. Its leads Hsu Kuang Han and Austin Lin are both exceptional in their own way.
Marry My Dead Body is now streaming on Netflix.
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