Till We Meet Again (2019) Review
Showing at the Focus Hong Kong Festival, Till We Meet Again is a drama that deals with loss and the effects it has on our mental health.
Inspired by Steven Ma’s own experience with loss and mental illness, Till We Meet Again is a dark drama that follows Ka-wai, played by Ma as well, as he tries to reunite with his missing mother. All is not as it seems as an unknown past trauma keeps surfacing up and affecting his mental health. Ka-wai is a lonely salesman but a wonderful son. He cares for his elderly father and we see how helpful and supportive he is to his family through the use of flashbacks. Despite this, his humble life is tainted by his haunting past. His psychiatrist, played by Jennifer Yu, is treating him for depression, panic disorder and hallucinations - but Ka-wai refuses to face his problems.
This is not your usual commercial film that glosses over sensitive topics - Till We Meet Again faces these head on. Many moments are difficult to watch as the depictions of mental health feel extremely real and relatable. Anyone who has dealt with loss or mental suffering may find Till We Meet Again tough as it can be genuinely harrowing and upsetting at times. It’s an intimate and genuine portrayal of someone who is suffering with mental illness. Steven Ma co-wrote, stars and directs this film - but it’s his acting which clearly stands out. He plays the role so well that you just know that he brings in his own loss and experience to make it an instantly memorable role. Throughout the film, Ma is tormented and conflicted between his emotions and what’s rational. Ma is clearly pouring out his heart and soul into this role, and it’s one of his best performances.
Till We Meet Again isn’t afraid to deal with the harsh reality of mental health issues
Josephine Ku plays Ma’s mother and she is just outstanding. It’s a subtle and nuanced performance that balances well with Ma’s big display. Her performance feels more like a genuine person rather than a fabrication. Whilst Ma is clearly the lead in this film, Ku will catch your eye in every scene she’s in. Each performance in Till We Meet Again is done sensitivity and appropriately with the subject matter.
While the subject and acting fit perfect into the film, the pacing is quite slow. There’s no doubt that you’ll be left feeling sentimental and melancholy - but some scenes can drag on a little bit. On top of this, some flashbacks at the start can be confusing and hard to follow.
Despite these minor faults, Till We Meet Again is an emotional rollercoaster that’ll leave you reflecting on your own loss and mental health. There are a few twists and turns, but nothing too unexpected. Visually, there isn’t anything ground-breaking about it - but the character study and handling of mental health is astonishing.
Till We Meet Again isn’t afraid to deal with the harsh reality of mental health issues and loss with some heart-rending moments that’ll leave you stunned.