Review: I Miss You When I See You (2018)

I Miss You When I See You (2018)

Directed by: Simon Chung | 93 minutes | drama | Actors: Jun Li, Bryant Ji-Lok Mak, Yuen Ho Yeung, Candy Cheung, Kevin Ip

As is often the case with romantic films, the Hong Kong love drama ‘I Miss You when I See You’ begins in high school. There we meet Jamie and Kevin, two classmates who secretly like each other very much but can’t do much with that in conservative Hong Kong. It remains a cautious first kiss, after which Kevin leaves for Australia with his family. Years later, he is still in Australia, plagued by depression, spending his days gardening in a clinic. Until one day he gets a visit from his former friend Jamie. Then suddenly all kinds of forgotten feelings arise.

Kevin travels after Jamie, finds a job, finds out that Jamie has a girlfriend…leaving it to the plot. That plot is quite different from what is usual in romantic gay drama. Such a drama usually revolves around struggle – against the family, the prejudices, one’s own feelings – and the romantic triumph that follows. None of that in “I Miss You When I See You.” For Kevin, his orientation is a given, while Jamie has been in the closet for so long that he no longer realizes it himself.

This lack of dramatic development doesn’t mean the film is boring. But instead of major inner struggles, this is about very subtle human interaction. For example, the relationship between Jamie and his girlfriend is full of small indications that something is not quite right. Rarely are things spoken, they are small elements that suggest all kinds of larger undercurrents. But the relationship between Kevin and a very young homosexual also betrays all kinds of feelings and inhibitions that never fully surface.

These hidden emotions mean that this film will appeal to fans of subtle Asian arthouse as much as the mainstream gay community. Hardly anything is explained, the pace is slow and we make jumps in time that you have to think about. This is also pure arthouse in terms of style, although not everyone will be charmed by the pastel tones and the listless guitar music. Plus, don’t worry too much about the cliché ending. If you can do that then ‘I Miss You When I See You’ is a great romantic drama. Whether you are gay or straight.

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