Pop culture expert David Ferguson is back to review a Taiwanese supernatural comedy called Marry My Dead Body.
What I find wonderful about some South East and East Asian storytellers is their ability to come up with some super zany story premises that are balanced by grounding the story and making them work on an emotional level too. That part of the world is particularly good, in my opinion, when it comes to telling queer stories. I have given a few examples before in film, TV and in comics.
With that in mind, I was particularly interested in the new Taiwanese supernatural comedy, Marry My Dead Body, which usurps the traditional ghost marriage customs by making it a gay marriage which only became legal in Taiwan in 2019. (The practice is real and still happens in certain parts of the world!)
Wu Ming-han (Greg Hsu) is a young cop who is homophobic towards a gay suspect and one of his fellow officers, sexist towards his female partner, (Gingle Wang) and immature in general.
Mao Pan-yu or Mao Mao (Austin Lin) was discussing marriage to his boyfriend prior to his mysterious death, and his grandmother (Wang Man-Chiao) is arranging a ghost marriage to fulfil his wish.
During the pursuit of a suspect, Wu Ming-han finds a red envelope signifying that he is the one who is meant to marry Mao Mao. He refuses initially, but after some hilariously bad luck befalls him, he agrees to proceed with the ceremony.
If the whole thing sounds silly, it is a bit and is largely played for laughs but there are some emotional parts, especially with granny. Mao Mao’s ghost appears on the wedding night which scares Wu Ming-han, who agrees, after some persuasion and possession, to fulfil Mao Mao’s dying wishes so that he can reincarnate and leave him alone.
The story’s emotional depth comes from Mao Mao’s relationship with granny who is a hugely supportive and is an enthusiastic ally, with his father (Tsung-Hua Tou), and his boyfriend (Aaron Yan), both of whom he has unresolved issues with.
People might feel a bit angry with Wu Min-han’s homophobic attitude, but he is mocked for it, suffers because of it, and eventually learns the error of his ways.
Both leading actors do a brilliant job in their roles. I particularly liked Greg Hsu who really captured Mao Mao’s emotional depth. Wang Man-Chiao’s granny provides some needed comic relief and Tsung-Hua Tou as Mao Mao’s father… well I’ll leave some things unspoiled, but he is great in the role.
Overall, I found Marry My Dead Body to be a fun romp that sometimes brought a tear to my eye.
If you want to check out more of David Ferguson’s reviews, you can read his previous GCN pieces here.
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