Dear Ex Review (2018)
Welcome to another movie review by LTL! Today we head to Taiwan to introduce you to a movie from 2018 called Dear Ex.
Dear Ex is a Taiwanese movie that was actually in my Netflix suggestions and as I am always looking for new dramas and movies to improve my Chinese, I thought why not give it a go?
What also interested me in this movie, is that Dear Ex talks about being gay in Taiwan and how the LGBT community is perceived by the society.
Not very common in the Chinese/Taiwanese movie industry… Let’s have a look!
Dear Ex Review #1 – Introduction
Dear Ex Review #2 – Main Characters
Dear Ex Review #3 – Why Watch it
Dear Ex Review #4 – Where to Watch
Dear Ex Review #5 – FAQ’s
Dear Ex Review #1 – Introduction
Dear Ex is a Taiwanese comedy-drama produced in 2018 by that won many awards such as Best Movie Editing at the 55th Golden Horse Awards.
The movie’s Taiwanese name is 誰先愛上他的 shéi xiān ài shàng tā de, literally meaning “who started to love him first”.
We follow the story of Song Chengxi and his mother’s journey after they discover their late father and husband changed his insurance policy in favour of his homosexual lover, Jay.
Song Chengxi’s relationship with his mother is tumultuous, and after heated arguments he decides to live with Jay, to try and get the insurance money back.
Watch the movie trailer right here 👇
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Dear Ex Review #2 – Main Characters
Dear Ex doesn’t have many characters so it is quite easy to follow the story and remember the names, even for beginners in the Chinese language.
Song Chengxi 宋呈希
Song Chengxi 宋呈希 (sòng chéng xī) is a thirteen year old teenager that just lost his father to cancer.
He is the guiding principle of the movie and we start the movie following from his perspective.
He is fascinated by his father’s lover Jay even though he has had feelings of angst towards him.
He also feels shock from uncovering the secret of both his father’s homosexuality and change in the insurance policy.
The character is played by Joseph Huang.
Jay 阿杰 (ā jié) is a community theatre director who is a complex character.
First seen as reckless, lazy and on drugs with no care for the world, we see through the movie a deeper and tender personality.
He was the lover of Song Chengxi’s father, with whom he had a strong and old connection.
Not having a say in the matter, he accepts his lover’s son in his apartment and has to deal with the mother’s fury.
The character is played by Roy Chiu, who won Best Leading Actor at the 55th Golden Horse Awards for Dear Ex.
Liu Sanlian 刘三莲
Liu Sanlian 刘三莲 (liú sān lián) is Song Chengxi’s mother.
She is devastated after hearing the news of the change in the insurance policy, and has great difficulty in dealing with her husband’s homosexuality.
She feels fury towards Jay thinking he stole the money, but is resigned to deal with him after her son’s decision to live with him.
However throughout the movie, her opinions about Jay slowly change.
The character is played by Hsieh Ying-xuan, who also won Best Leading Actress at the 55th Golden Horse Awards for Dear Ex.
Song Zhengyuan 宋正远
Song Zhengyuan 宋正远 (sòng zhèng yuǎn) is Chengxi’s father and Jay’s lover.
Troubled with his sexual identity and wanting a “normal life” he leaves Jay after developing feelings for him, and marries Liu Sanlian.
Many years after, he comes back to Jay and finishes his last days in his company.
The character is played by Spark Chen.
Dear Ex Review #3 – Why Watch it?
First of all, if you never heard the Taiwanese accent before, this is a great way to start!
The characters’ way of speaking is very simple and not many technical words are used in the dialogues, so it is fairly easy to follow the story.
However, the accent can make it difficult to understand if you never heard it before. What better way to discover it than watching a movie?
On another note,
Taiwan is considered the most LGBT-friendly country in Asia, even though they are just starting opening up to the community, with legalising same-sex marriage in 2019.
In a country where LGBT rights are not always acknowledged, movies like Dear Ex definitely contribute to a change in the society and a step towards a more accepting cultural development.
Watching Dear Ex will give you a bit of an insight as to how the gay community is perceived in Taiwan and how things are starting to change.
FACT – Taiwan legalised same-sex marriage on the 24th of May 2019 💍
Dear Ex Review #4 – Where to Watch?
Dear Ex is available on Netflix in the following languages:
Available in: 🇦🇷🇦🇺🇧🇪🇧🇷🇨🇦🇨🇿🇫🇷🇩🇪🇬🇷🇭🇰🇭🇺🇮🇸🇮🇳🇮🇱🇮🇹🇯🇵🇱🇹🇲🇽🇳🇱🇵🇱🇵🇹🇷🇴🇷🇺🇸🇬🇸🇰🇿🇦🇰🇷🇪🇸🇸🇪🇨🇭🇹🇭🇹🇷🇬🇧🇺🇸
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese
If you are an avid reader of our Chinese movies, TV shows and dramas reviews then you are already aware of our favourite tool: Language Learning with Netflix.
If not, let me quickly introduce the tool for you.
Language Learning with Netflix (LLN for short) is a Google Chrome extension, allowing you to watch Netflix with dual subtitles.
So for example, in this case, I watched the movie with English AND Chinese subtitles.
LLN also displays the pinyin, so it is super helpful to learn new Chinese characters. Click on a word to see its translation and pronunciation, save it in your favourites…
A great tool to learn any language, really!
Have you watched Dear Ex?
Let us know in the comments 👇
When was Dear Ex released?
Dear Ex was released in 2018.
What is the story of Dear Ex?
We follow the story of teenage boy Song Chengxi and his mother’s journey, after they discover their late father and husband changed his insurance policy in favour of his homosexual lover, Jay.
Where to watch Dear Ex?
Dear Ex is available on Netflix.
Is Dear Ex a Chinese movie from mainland China?
No, Dear Ex is a movie produced in Taiwan.
When was same-sex marriage legalised in Taiwan ?
Taiwan legalised same-sex marriage on the 24th of May 2019.
How do you say “gay” in Chinese?
Gay or homosexuality in Chinese is 同性恋 tóng xìng liàn.
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