Amidst laughs and a charming cast, the movie addresses pressing concerns
In Singapore, A Fantastic Ghost Wedding (AFGW) has a bright and comical poster, featuring a wide-eyed Sandra Ng and a wide-mouthed Mark Lee cruising in a beat-up motor vehicle.
In Hong Kong, however, it is marketed as a montage of solemn, grieving faces.
In truth, AFGW settles in the middle. Between humorous takes and pseudo-action sequences, the movie approaches the pains of death, change, and personal fears.
Happiness After Death
The story follows neurotic ex-singer, Mrs Wu (played by Sandra Ng), who copes with her son’s death by burning copious amounts of paper offerings.
Despite her showers of extravagant paper products – like rows of bungalows and a commercial airplane – Mrs Wu is still haunted by her son’s unhappy spirit. To appease him, she hires a father-son spirit medium duo (Mark Lee, Keane Chan) to find him a wife.
This duo has its own moving narrative arc. While Mrs Wu grapples with grieving, the mediums struggle with their dying practices in the modern world.
Although the twists are predictable from early in the story, it’s refreshing to see a movie that unabashedly confronts pertinent issues.
AFGW combines the laudable skills of Ng, Lee and many other comedy favourites.
Ng is known for her roles in Hong Kong’s popular film series of All’s Well, Ends Well, and Golden Chicken. For AFGW, most of her dialogue is in her native Cantonese tongue, allowing for smooth delivery as the nit-picky Mrs Wu.
Accompanying her is Lee, who takes on a slightly more serious role than his usual. He toes the fine line between being a strict yet adoring father; and an eccentric yet smart business owner.
Joining them are the likes of Hong Kong veteran actor Jim Chim (as Mr Wu), Marcus Chin (store owner and funeral expert), and upcoming young actor Keane Chan. A cameo appearance is also made by Singapore comedian Henry Thia.
While the special effects employed in AFGW fall behind by global cinema standards, this has worked to make this film sincere and close to home.
Plus, the show doesn’t end on a sappy, conclusive note – it leaves many gaps that only serious contemplation on our part can fill.
By Pamela Chow
A Fantastic Ghost Wedding [M18]
Director: Meng Ong
Starring: Sandra Ng, Mark Lee, Jim Chim, Keane Chan
Genre: Comedy, drama
Run Length: 97 mins
Release: 20 Nov