I was looking forward to seeing Ab-normal Beauty
, because it's an indie-ish Cantonese film directed by Oxide Pang
, who's been kind of famous lately for films like The Eye. There will be spoilers for this review because I can't believe how dumb this movie is, yet the movie is so highly acclaimed. Don't rent this thing.
I thought Ab-normal Beauty was going to be a thriller and kind of scary. There was also a big fuss made because the two female main characters are lesbians played by real-life sisters Race
and Rosanne Wong
. In real-life they are also the musical duo 2R
, which seems to be famous for "not being the squeaky-clean Twins" (though the Twins
, in addition to being tone-deaf, are not so squeaky-clean anymore due to the Edison Chen scandal
Instead, Ab-normal Beauty is a beautifully-shot movie revolving around cliche after offensive cliche. Race plays Jiney, a "great-by-standards-of-the-movie" photographer who one day becomes obsessed with taking pictures of death. Such obsession is deemed bad luck by Rosanne, who plays Jas, and she becomes increasingly concerned, as Jiney's obsession spirals out of control. (So Jiney is discovering she's kind of a goth. So what?) It turns out that Jiney's obsession is all about the trauma of a rape by her cousin that happened to her as a child, and her mom didn't believe her, and, also, that's why she's a LESBIAN NOW and WON'T EVER LIKE BOYS.
There are several flashbacks to that one incident of trauma, and eventually she gets her courage to tell her mom what really happened, which is a technique that I could have sworn happened several times in SailorMoon. You think the movie is over, but no.
Then she gets stalked and kidnapped by some guy in S&M fetish gear who in the context of the movie was there for all of five seconds, so when the reveal happens, you're wondering who the hell he is. Of course, Jas has died by the hands of the fetish guy because she's a LESBIAN with no trauma.
Oh, and the whole sisters-who-play-lovers thing was so overplayed. I couldn't tell for most of the movie that they were supposed to be dating, because they were affectionate with each other in the way that girls in Hong Kong and China are generally affectionate with each other - holding hands, hugging, etc. (When I was in China, this kind of weirded me out, but by now I've gotten used to it.) They didn't even kiss in the movie at all, and the only indication of anything other than sisterly affection is when Jas gets jealous of Jiney for hanging out with a guy who has a crush on her.
Anyway, most reviews of the movie I've seen indicate that they like the first 2/3 of the movie, where Jiney confronts her demons, and get confused and offended by the last part, which they feel is kind of exploitative. Whereas I think the last part is the only part where anything interesting happens. This should have been a full-on ghost story or a full-on stalker/kidnapper story. As a result, neither story is actually compelling.