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Happy Old Year

Opening Date
13 Feb 2020
PG13 Some Coarse Language
113 mins
Thai with English & Chinese subtitles
Drama, Romance
Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit
Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying, Sunny Suwanmethanont, Sarika Sathsilpsupa
A love story for those who want to move on but find it hard letting go. Jean wants to convert her house into a home office and needs to majorly declutter and reorganise the entire house. Anything that has been lying around unused, she just simply throws away. However, Jean faces a great challenge when she comes across some items that belonged to Aim, her ex-boyfriend. Although she has no use for the items, each one reminds her of a story that brings back memories, along with unresolved feelings that cannot be easily discarded by just throwing them into the garbage bag. Jean has to decide what to do with Aim’s stuff. Should she just throw everything, keep everything, or return the items to their rightful owner to clear them completely from her house and her heart?
By Jason Lin  13 Feb 2020
Thai filmmaker Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit seeks to explore one’s ability and process to let go of one’s past and move on in his latest feature Happy Old Year.
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Every person handles his or her past differently. Some would choose to remember and hold them close to their hearts while others prefer to retain objects that used to symbolise a memorable moment in life. Thai filmmaker Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit seeks to explore one’s ability and process to let go of one’s past and move on in his latest feature Happy Old Year.

Written and directed by the filmmaker, the audience soon realises that this is no easy feat. Recently back to Thailand after her studies in Sweden, Jean (played by Thai model and actress Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying whom many might recall from 2017’s Bad Genius)  finds herself set to declutter her apartment that is full of objects kept over the years since her childhood days.

The film references Marie Kondo’s philosophy of organising one’s life and progressively specifies the various steps to clear out items – although each of these steps might be intentionally misaligned to the proceedings onscreen.

For one to truly be able to let go of hoarded objects, one might need to refrain from dwelling in the past and from being reminiscent. This was soon realised to be easier said than done when Jean, who was adamant to clear out all her stuff in the first third of the film, began to undergo a change and rekindled memories of complicated relationships. Many of these led to sweet aftermath, while others were downright sorrowful.

This was well portrayed by Chuengcharoensukying with moments where scenes lingered on her body language and facial expressions. They were used to contrast her lines in the film that often suggested the clear opposite of what she might be really experiencing.

There were some moments in the film that sought to analyse the intentions behind the rationale behind one’s attempt to let go and make peace with past regrets. It was suggested that this would selfishly help one feel better and pass on one’s sense and burden of guilt upon others. Perhaps somethings might just be better left unsaid and unfinished where everyone would just accept and move on with their lives.

Running at almost two hours, Happy Old Year proceeded at a pace that might not be easy for some viewers. Despite having a love story at the core of the film, the film took time to build up its exposition and develop other aspects of the screenplay. With patience, the process of looking back at the past could be rewarding where new revelations could arise from Happy Old Year.
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