Wet Season (Re Dai Yu)
Reviewed by Tami Smith, Film Reviewer for Shockya
Director: Anthony Chen
Screen Writer: Anthony Chen
Cast: Yeo Yann Yann, Koh Jia Ler , Yang Shi Bin, Christopher Lee
Release Date: April 23, 2021
Abdominal injections, vaginal ultrasounds and artificial inseminations are all part of daily lives of women aged thirty-five-plus who want to conceive a child but are unable to. Wet Season introduces us to one Ling, (Yeo Yann Yann), a Mandarin language teacher in a boys school in Singapore. Ling’s daily routine includes: administering daily injections of fertility drugs into her stomach, and giving elementary care to her disabled father-in-law (Yang Shi Bin), while having very little interaction with husband Andrew (Christopher Lee), who has given up on their eight-year old marriage and does not bother accompanying her to gynecological appointments. Her students seem polite but care little about studying Mandarin in a country, where English is the “lingua franca”, used in daily business transactions and sprinkled sporadically in personal conversations.
Ling strikes a friendship with one student, Wei Lun (Koh Jia Ler), who has been left to fend for himself by his parents who have gone on a business trip. Their friendship turns intimate and leads down a slippery avalanche that will change Ling’s life and those of people around her. Since it is Singapore’s monsoon season, it rains heavily most of the time.
Director Anthony Chen, who brought us Ilo Ilo in 2013, wrote Wet Season and based the script on his personal experience as a married man attempting to start a family. He has been blessed with a talented cast supporting his endeavor.
Yeo Yann Yann portrays Ling, a Malaysian school teacher who settled in Singapore after marriage. She is approaching her forties, desperate to have a child while wanting to fulfill some social expectations as a wife, teacher and care-giver to her father-in-law.
Koh Jia Ler as Wei Lun, her student, gives an entertaining performance of a high-testosterone youth and a martial-arts champion, on the cusp of adulthood, who is starving for emotional and physical attention and can’t take NO for an answer.
Christopher Lee plays Ling’s Singaporean husband, Andrew, as a man who is absent physically and emotionally while playing golf with clients and seems always to be “not-in-the-mood”.
Yang Shi Bin acts in a muted fashion as Ling’s disabled father-in-law, relying on hand motions and vocal sounds to express his needs and emotions.
Director of photography Sam Care makes good use of locations around Singapore while showing a wet city during the monsoon season, interrupted by a ray of sunshine every so often. English subtitles are available when Hokkien, Mandarin and English are spoken.
Wet Season is Singapore’s submission for Best International Feature of the 93rd Academy Awards.
103 minutes Rated: NR © Tami Smith, Film Reviewer