Humans are naturally drawn to pretty things, which is why love stories typically feature young, beautiful people and their romantic pursuits.
What happens, though, when you reach that age when – having been through it all before – finding love isn’t a priority anymore? Would you be content with going through the motions in life, afraid of getting hurt again?
Grim as these questions may be, it’s what “Love Never Ends” – the big-screen adaptation of a popular webcomic by South Korean artist Kang Full – tries to convey: that it’s never too late to find love.
The story starts when Chang Weijie (Ni Dahong) meets the feisty Li Huiru (Kara Hui), and they immediately butt heads over his way of collecting scraps and recyclables in the park.
But this being a romance, the pair start to find out more about each other and eventually develop a strong bond. Chang also befriends Li’s recycling dealer Xie Dingshan (Tony Leung Ka Fai), the caretaker of Zhao Huanxin (Cecelia Yip) – his wife who suffers from dementia.
From here, the film portrays how two couples in this stage of life can forge deep connections and friendships with one another, and does so to great effect.
There’s much to like in “Love Never Ends”, starting with veteran actor Ni, who is on screen for almost the entire duration of the movie’s near-two-hour runtime.
His character is initially shy and a people-pleaser – which makes the eventual confession of his feelings for Li a wholly satisfying moment after numerous instances of stolen glances and sheepish smiles.
Hui, meanwhile, acts is the perfect counterpart, and their scenes together are no less adorable than two 20-somethings falling in love.
Indeed, it’s truly a joy to watch these more-than-capable thespians show off their years of experience, and not a moment of their performance is underwhelming or overdone.
As for the second couple, Leung and Yip’s characters have a heavier story to tell. Caring for someone unwell can be an uphill battle, and Leung discards his conventionally macho persona to play the role of a dutiful husband with finesse.
But it is Yip who has the tougher job, her character’s dementia rendering her silent for the most part: she can only show emotions with her eyes and movements, but she does so expertly.
Movies often tend to depict the elderly as people to be pitied or mocked, but “Love Never Ends” never lets you feel that way about its characters.
They are instead shown to be deep and flawed people that deserve, nonetheless, to be treated with as much respect as they did when they were young.
One memorable scene features Chang, Li, Xie and Zhao having a meal with their children and grandchildren. The detached demeanour of the younger generation will surely strike a chord with those who experience similar communication gaps with their offspring.
Thankfully, as heavy or sombre as the plot can get sometimes, it’s balanced with plenty of light and humorous moments. The result is a movie with plenty of heart, much to director Yan Han’s credit.
All in all, if you’re looking to take a break from fast-paced action flicks, give this meaningful film a try. You will need plenty of tissues, but it’s a heartfelt reminder that growing old doesn’t necessarily have to be daunting.
As of press time, ‘Love Never Ends’ is screening in cinemas nationwide.