REVIEW: Lost For Words (2013)

A white guy meets a Chinese girl, and it’s love at first sight. Because it’s easy to do so if you can’t write a love story that features language barriers.


By Raymond Arcega
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Lost For Words

Extended title: Lost For Words 愛。真。承
Year: 2013
Countries: Hong Kong, USA
Languages: English, Mandarin, Cantonese
Genre: Romantic Drama
Director: Stanley J. Orzel

In the tradition of romantic films such as The Notebook, Lady and the Tramp, and Aladdin, here comes a story about two people from different worlds who meet and fall in love.

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And in the tradition of The Last Samurai, 47 Ronin, and The Forbidden Kingdom, it’s also a story about a white man’s charisma in an all Asian world. Here is Lost For Words.

Meet Michael, played by Sean Faris, who loves getting his Asian fix in any way possible, ever since that time he tried to convince the world he was half-Japanese in The King of Fighters. He is a former marine who lands an IT job at his company’s Hong Kong office. Michael is met by Stanford, played by Will Yun Lee, who should have learned his lesson about being in the same movie with Faris after that starring together in King of Fighters.

Watch the magic of the all-powerful plot device called “fate” do its work as Michael meets eyes with the beautiful Anna (Grace Huang) not only when they both land at the airport, but also when they are both taking a stroll some days later. Lightning sparks and they fall in love almost immediately.

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Because if you’re going to write a romantic story about two people of different cultures who have difficulty communicating to each other, it’s always easier to cut corners and say it’s love at first sight.

After all, there is barely a white guy in an Asian country who can’t make every girl there fall in love with his face.

Following through with its theme of “love”, we watch as the story shows its love for throwaway characters and plot points. Stanford gets introduced to be Michael’s insightful-best-friend-in-a-romantic-movie archetype, and even gets hyped up as a wine lover so that he could spit game at his wine-loving potential girlfriend. But he, the wine, and his romance get thrown out the window without any impact to the story.

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Even Anna’s creepy ballet instructor Victor (Terence Yin), who gets pushed to be a rival to Michael over the love of Anna, gets tossed to the side with no conclusion, and no rivalry. Audience might have looked forward to seeing Michael duke it out with Victor, who spits his game by creepily whispering into Anna’s ear as he touches and teaches her to dance from behind. But no; he gets away scott free.

Anna’s jealous best friend and fellow dancer Mei Mei (Joman Chiang) gets tossed to the curb as well. Even after perpetuating bad cultural stereotypes, with lines such as “Did you look at his shoes? No money!” and “White guys….Eat and run”, and actions such as making Anna take a walk so she herself could flirt with the guy with money, the story forgets about her, too.

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The biggest throwaway of the film just happens to be the chemistry of the two lovers, as they both struggle with doing more than flat dialog delivery, one-word conversations, and shy smiles. Because it’s okay to make cross-cultural communication difficulty an excuse to write easy dialog that pre-teens would consider cute.

But aside from the throwaway story, the film does take us on a lovely tour of Hong Kong and presenting it to the audience in a beautiful way. Granted, we have to endure seeing a white guy spitting game at a Chinese girl in the foreground the majority of the time. Get out of the way, I’m trying to enjoy Hong Kong!


Watch this film if…

…you like seeing stories featuring the white guy getting the Asian girl.


About the Author

Raymond Arcega

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