Dear Ex follows three people who are linked by fate because of love and family. Adolescent Song Chengxi (Joseph Huang) loses his father Song Zhengyuan (Spark Chen) to cancer, but instead of having time to mourn, Chengxi finds himself caught in a feud between his widowed mother Liu Sanlian (Hsieh Ying-xuan) and his father’s gay lover Jay (Roy Chiu). As Liu fights Jay for Song’s insurance money, Chengxi gradually learns that what holds both Liu and Jay back is not the money, but the weight of the loving memories they each have with his father.
As conservative groups continue to voice opposition in advance of same-sex marriage becoming legal in Taiwan in May of 2019, Dear Ex is a timely reminder of the social and human impact that results from the lack of acceptance for LGBTQ+ rights. The film, however, does not sensationalize or victimize queer love. With its heartfelt sincerity, it leaves us with the hope for a more inclusive society.
This is a pivotal film for co-director Mag Hsu and lead actor Roy Chiu, who were previously known for their work in TV. With compelling storytelling, nuanced performances and a beautiful score, Dear Ex is one of the finest films to emerge from Taiwan this year. – BX