Review by Sean Boelman
The directorial debut of actress-turned-filmmaker Lynn Chen, I Will Make You Mine is the conclusion to a trilogy of films starring indie musician Goh Nakamura. A satisfying low-fi indie romance, the movie ultimately tries to juggle a bit more than it can handle, but it works due to Nakamura’s charisma.
The film tells the story of three women who struggle with trying to understand the complexities of life while reflecting on their past relationships with the same man. The movie’s biggest weakness is that it tries to incorporate too many storylines into a short period of time. Although each storyline has some extremely compelling moments, the film is only an hour and twenty minutes long, so there isn’t enough time for all of them to be fully explored.
This is certainly a very low-key movie, with very little cinematic happening apart from one mini-climax for each of the storylines. Still, even though the movie isn’t particularly exciting, it is nice to see a sweet slice-of-life romance like this, especially since the leads of the film are all so charming. While it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, this movie will certainly have its fair share of fans.
Thematically, the film has a lot going on in its head, but that is because each of the three storylines has their own message. Although there are some interesting things happening in each of the storylines, the movie cuts between them in a way that doesn’t allow them to have their full emotional impact, and as such, the film feels somewhat shallow.
The character development in the movie also isn’t as deep as one would hope. Although all four of the leads are compelling, having four main characters in a film this short is problematic for obvious reasons. As a result, some of the storylines feel stronger than others. Chen’s character Rachel arguably has the most compelling arc of any of them, but there are still some great moments in the rest.
Chen is obviously great in her role, getting to take the director’s reins after playing the role twice before. Nakamura is also excellent, which is expected given the fact that the character is a fictionalized version of himself. Yea-Ming Chen also plays a fictionalized version of herself, and is good but somewhat underused.
On a technical level, Chen’s movie is mostly strong. The film is shot in black-and-white, giving it an even more evident indie feel. The more impressive part of the movie, though, is its incorporation of music. Obviously, music plays a big role in the film given the fact that its central character is a musician. The soundtrack of the movie, particularly the eponymous song, is pretty great.
I Will Make You Mine is a sweet little indie dramedy, and while it could have spared to be a bit longer, it’s still infectiously likable. Fans of the indie pop scene will certainly want to check this film out.
I Will Make You Mine was set to debut at the cancelled 2020 SXSW Film Festival. It hits VOD on May 26.