Soulmate (Derek Tsang, 2016)


A young woman, Ansheng, is tasked by her boss with tracking down the author of an in-progress serialized web novel, as their company would like to option it for a movie adaptation. (This is a thing that happens: the best film of 2014, Fruit Chan’s The Midnight After (now streaming on Netflix) was adaptaed from an unfinished serialized web novel written by an entity known as PIZZA.) She’s given this assignment because one of the main characters is apparently based on her: it’s an account of Ansheng’s lifelong friendship with a woman named Qiyue, from their instant communion as middle-schoolers to their inevitable growing apart over twenty years. The bulk of Derek Tsang’s film is the text of this novel, which has the appearance of a flashback, but with a few key subjective elisions and time-warping montages, hints that reality is not as reliable as it appears. One of those montages is scored by the title track from Faye Wong’s Restless (Fuzao), which speaks to the film’s excellent taste within a fundamentally unoriginal framework.

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