Movies for Valentine's Day and Lunar New Year
February 12, 2021 7:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for suggestions for good, light hearted movies for a combo Valentine's Day/Lunar New Year movie date night. Filmmakers and representation from Asian and Asian diaspora cultures that celebrate Lunar New Year, please and thank you!

Options available to stream in the US via Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Kanopy preferred.

Love Bong Joon-ho, but Parasite is a bit too dark for my current mood.

Always Be My Maybe is my current leading contender, but I'd kind of like something new to me, and I think the boyfriend would prefer something that isn't straight up rom com.

He would love it if you came up with a wuxia film that perked my interest, but I tend to find fight scenes boring (even beautifully choreographed ones!), so it would need to have some other elements going on so I don't just fall asleep and annoy him, heh. (I know it's a huge genre, no shade intended!)

Subtitles are fine. Comedic and/or romantic elements preferred. Runtime closer to 90 minutes than 3 hours, again due to narcoleptic movie watching tendencies.

posted by the primroses were over to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I think but can't swear it's available streaming in the US: Comrades, Almost a Love Story is a little older (from the 90s) but very very good and charming. There's a key part that takes place on the New Year. 2-hour runtime, gentle/sly humor, not a straight-up romcom, but/and no martial arts either.
(One thing to watch out for, though: there's a scene near the end that's extremely racist towards Black Americans.)

A straight-up fun comedy with a little romance, but no connection to the New Year as far as I remember: Shaolin Soccer.
posted by trig at 8:43 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]

(I just realized I should add that in Comrades one of the lovers originally has a girlfriend back home that he winds up cheating on, in case that's triggering for anyone.)
posted by trig at 8:52 AM on February 12

Crazy Rich Asians!
posted by nantucket at 8:55 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]

The Half of It is so, so good. It's sweet and tender and poignant and has some funny moments too. Especially touching is the relationship between Ellie and her father.
posted by yawper at 10:41 AM on February 12 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Don't Go Breaking My Heart, romantic comedy featuring Daniel Wu and Louis Koo, available on Netflix.

If you will make a wuxia exception for Michelle Yeoh, I really like Reign of Assassins (free on YouTube and Amazon Prime)

Vice made a list of recommended Lunar New Year movies. So did SCMP.
posted by toastyk at 2:43 PM on February 12

Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express are romantic Hong Kong cinema classics.

Saving Face (first feature by Alice Wu, who directed The Half of It mentioned above) is a Chinese-American rom com/drama with a lesbian couple.

Ang Lee's The Wedding Banquet is a rom com about the fake wedding of a gay Chinese New Yorker.

The Farewell is a family dramedy also involving a fake wedding starring Awkwafina.

Wing Chun is a martial arts film with rom com elements about a woman kung fu master (Michelle Yeoh - and yes, agreed, do make a wuxia exception for her).

Justin Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow is an AsAm rebellious high school movie (that tbh I haven't watched yet) and a retroactive origin story for Han (Sung Kang) in the Fast & Furious franchise.
posted by eyeball at 2:52 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]

Eat Drink Man Woman (Taiwanese love/family story with lots of great-looking food)

(Ang Lee, on Amazon)
posted by bearette at 6:33 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, all of these suggestions are awesome, and I'm definitely going to be watching several in the near future!

I think we're going with Reign of Assassins this evening, so I'm marking this resolved, but I absolutely want more suggestions along these lines if anyone else stumbles across this question.
posted by the primroses were over at 12:06 PM on February 13

I didn't recommend Bin Jip (3-Iron) before since it's a bit of a dark choice for Valentine's Day (there's violent abuse in the background, and some in the foreground, that the main characters are healing from) but it's an amazing movie. It's less bleak than Parasite but has some of that surreality and stylish chutzpah.
posted by trig at 12:34 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]

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