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Butterfly (2004) July 23, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Uncategorized.
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You know there’s something wrong when even lesbian sex scenes seem boring. Butterfly is a brave attempt to portray the angst of young Asian homosexuality, but unfortunately comes off hideously dull. It follows the convoluted tale of Flavia, a Chinese woman in a seemingly blissful marriage. But a chance encounter with a young singer prompts ‘wonder years’ flashbacks that reveal a teenage love affair. It’s pretty cliched, with some rather tenuous developments. Characters are dropped in and fished out at will, all in an effort to ‘further’ Flavia’s development and reveal more of her true self. The main story is intercut with annoying super 8-style ‘home movies’, complete with repetitive ballad. It’s interesting to see teenage sexuality from an Asian point of view, but this is not helped by some rather wishy-washy, annoying characters. Flavia’s husband is never fully fleshed out for one and comes across as a particularly pitiful casualty of the inevitable ending. Ross from Friends wasn’t half this bad. Writer Xue Chen tries to inject some poignancy into the story, weaving from Hong Kong to Macau and including the Tianamen Square massacre to reinforce the sense of rebellion against narrow Chinese tradition. But it’s all so frightfully dull with a truly inexcusable 130min running time. By the time Flavia made her decision, I wasn’t so much cheering for her as relieved she had finally made a decision after 12 years. It sure felt like that long.

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