SXSW Review: Revisit old friends in ‘I Will Make You Mine,’ a satisfying end to a heartwarming trilogy
One of the first things that you should know about the romantic drama I Will Make You Mine, actress-turned-director Lynn Chen’s debut film, is that it’s part of a long withstanding trilogy. Following up Danny Boyle’s indie circuit films Surrogate Valentine and Daylight Savings, I Will Make You Mine is a look at four characters–Goh (Goh Nakamura), Rachel (Lynn Chen), Yea-Ming (Yea-Ming Chen), and Erika (Ayako Fujitani)–years after the events in the first two films. The greatest common factor for all of these characters is Goh, who was in a relationship with each of the three others. Now, all four characters are in different stages of their lives. Goh and Erika are unmarried but now have a daughter together, Rachel is married to a husband who she recently found out had an affair, while Yea-Ming is still searching for a soulmate. One by one, they all cross paths with each other once again.
Even though it’s been eight long years since the release of Daylight Savings, each of the four leads returns to their roles once again with remarkable ease. Watching I Will Make You Mine felt like watching old friends come together–four people with different background stories that remain complex and acted out with nuance. Despite never having watched the first two films, it was easy to parse out the types of people that the four leads are even without that background knowledge. Rachel is spontaneous and has the deepest history with Goh. Erika loves Goh but refuses to solidify the relationship thanks to her own broken family. Yea-Ming is fun, spunky, and spirited, but feels like her life is missing direction. For the actors playing them, slipping back into character seemed like second nature. Subtle, awkward dialogue, and actions define and humanize each of the characters in Chen’s film, even without prior knowledge of the backstories to completely fill in the blanks. The audience is given enough just from watching the film play out in real-time.
Even more compelling is how each character subtly evolves as they slowly come back into Goh’s company. As each of the female leads interact with Goh, their characters shift and react to his presence, cementing that history that was built up in the first two films. These interactions and the understandable drama that unfolds are the moments where the film shines, establishing a beautiful chemistry that many films find themselves to be lacking in. Realistic comedy in life’s awkward moments make each of the characters and the situations in I Will Make You Mine particularly heartwarming. Occasionally adding to the drama as well is Sachiko (Ayami Riley Tomine), who brings a youthful charm to the film. She’s also a constant and visible reminder that things have changed for Goh, who seems to remain free-spirited but now has to deal with the added weight of fatherhood.
At only a hair over an hour long, the black and white world of I Will Make You Mine seems like an epilogue that will satsify both audiences new to the series and fans of the first two films. Filled with laughs, humanistic moments, and some rockin’ music (courtesy of Yea-Ming), I Will Make You Mine is a funny, heartwarming drama that navigates the subtle intimacies of adulthood with friends who you aren’t ready to say goodbye to yet.