Girlfriend Boyfriend—GF BF | Movie review
A love triangle changes along with Taiwan’s political landscape.
The democratization of Taiwan forms the backdrop of this engaging love-triangle story, which traces the paths of three schoolmates from their rebellious student days in 1985 (when the country was still under martial law) to the present. Mabel (Lun Mei Gwei) is in love with Liam (Joseph Chang), and although an affection between them seems obvious to Aaron (Rhydian Vaughan) as the group distributes magazines banned by the ruling Nationalist party, Liam remains aloof. Aaron, no dummy, swoops in—though at that point, neither Aaron nor Mabel knows the repressed Liam secretly loves him.
Flashing forward to long sections in 1990 and then 1997, the film shows how the dynamic among the three friends shifts along with the nation’s politics. There’s perhaps not enough sense of the characters apart from the way they interact with each other, and the closing note doesn’t tie the film together as much as it might have. But the cast—especially Lun’s portrait of the long-suffering Mabel—is strong, the pop-music backbeat infectious and the sense of the passing years poignant. Even as freedoms grow, unrequited love remains stubbornly intransigent.