“Funeral March” tells the story of Yee (Charlene Choi), a young, affluent girl who discovers she has cancer. Despite the protestations of those around her, she decides to accept her fate, and decided to arrange her funeral, with the assistance of the initially unwilling Funeral Director, Duan (Eason Chan).
He accompanies her and some of her entourage to the USA, to enable her to see her Mothers grave, and on the way he is able to awaken her to the reasons for living, and things to do with your life. It becomes apparent that all is not lost with her health, and he manages to convince her to have a lifesaving operation. Of course they fall in love.
So far, so normal for this kind of movie. But as I will describe in a few paragraphs, something changes halfway through the movie.
Beautifully shot and acted, Joe Ma manages to create a lovely little entry in the “Terminal Beauty” genre. And then has two things going for it that raise it out of the usual standards of the genre.
Firstly this is the starring debut of Choi. On the cusp of her Twins stardom, she displays acting ability of the highest quality. I know I am biased, as I think I could watch Choi peel potatoes and still enjoy her screen presence, but this performance shows the quality she would not get the chance to display again until “Diary”.
Secondly, the film pulls the cleverest of tricks, but totally changing tack half-way through the movie. I am going to give you all a little spoiler warning here, so go away if you intend to watch the film.
You see, it turns out that Duan also has cancer, and that his is not going to be cured. There have been hints all along that something was not quite right with him, but they have been rather subtly displayed. I am afraid the ending is not a happy one, but he is able to bring a love for life and family back to Yee, providing him with a sense of accomplishment. Everything is turned on its head – she is his redemption, his Angel.
A wonderful movie, highly recommended, just bring tissues. Will it change your life? Probably not, but will it touch you? I certainly hope so.