A film review
Inclusivity. Prejudice. Misogyny. These are all things that the Taiwanese film Marry My Dead Body touches on while also maintaining a steady stream of comedic moments peppered with the heavy.
Starring Greg Hsu (Wu Ming Han) and Austin Lin (Mao Bang Yu / Mao Mao), Marry My Dead Body tells the story of a traditional same-sex marriage between a down-on-his-luck homophobic cop and a deceased gay man.
While it is as funny as the trailer promises, it is also heartwarming & heart-rending. It doesn’t take itself seriously while also managing to take itself seriously. And that’s hard to find in comedy these days.
Rather than simply focus on a testosterone-heavy plot about a man shaken up by his dead gay husband, it takes both men and weaves them into each other’s lives in a way that shatters misconceptions about the LGBTQ+ community while also deftly pointing out the prejudices both have against each other and overcoming them. All while cop Ming Han and ghost Mao Mao fall into a love story that isn’t quite a love story with each other.
While this isn’t a romantic film, there comes a point in the movie where the viewer falls in love with how they fall for each other. The love that grows between Ming Han and Mao Mao is more about respect and need than romance, but that felt much bigger than the screen holding them, punching me in the face in an unexpected way that left me in tears.
And the film doesn’t stop there.
Despite the villainess Ming Han’s female partner, Lin Zi Quing (Gingle Wang), turns out to be, Marry My Dead Body has a raw, intriguing way of using her to point out the misogyny women face in the workplace. I wasn’t sure how I felt about her being a villain in the film, especially after seeing how she was treated at the police station, because I was worried that it would be another case of villainizing women. But it wasn’t. Instead, it felt more profound. Sad. Eye-opening. Tragically honest. Although Lin Zi Qing turns against everyone, it isn’t possible to be angry at her for it. As Mao Mao smugly points out, “There’s more than meets the eye with her.”
Isn’t that the case for all women in a patriarchal-dominated world?
Lin Zi Quing essentially turns her back both on the ‘brotherhood’ that shames her and the villains who abuse her, taking her life into her own hands away from them all. She became more than a pretty face and a traitor. She walked out the villain the world itself turned her into. In the same way women are often villainized in the workplace, film, and life.
There was a lot of thought and heart put into every scene in this film. From the gentle change we see in Ming Han and Mao Mao as their worlds collide to the transition of acceptance and pain Mao Mao’s family goes through over his sexuality while Mao Mao himself is hoping to spend his life with someone forever thanks to Taiwan’s recent approval of same-sex marriage before that is abruptly taken away from him. All while removing the rainbow glasses from the faces of those who idolize gay relationships by showing the reality of Mao Mao’s romance with a man who is cheating on him.
This film promotes the need for equality while delving into our reality.
It all plays out beautifully on screen with a subtle heaviness that never feels too political but still manages to punch viewers in the face. The final scene between Ming Han, Mao Mao, and Mao Mao’s father before Mao Mao’s reincarnation expresses a deep love between three men finding acceptance in each other that left my heart raw and my cheeks damp with tears. All in all, Marry My Dead Body offers viewers both laughter and truth, and there aren’t a lot of films that can manage that.
For a fun film that shatters prejudices and opens hearts, check out Marry My Dead Body now on Netflix.