YOLO: Movie Review: Hilarious, Inspiring, Incredible. Yes. In that order. 

By: Ica Hontiveros-Cheng

YOLO is a Chinese boxing comedy/drama. It is actually the adaptation, albeit with a comedic take of the 2014 Japanese film, ‘100 Yen Love’. I came into the movie without having any expectations about it, since I knew nothing about the film. I wasn’t particularly excited or looking forward to seeing it. It was Miss Doris, who has been in the film distribution business since I was in pre-school (so, she knows her stuff) who initially sold the film to me. Or at least piqued my interest in it. 

Screening day came and by the time the movie was finished, I was completely and utterly blown away. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.   

YOLO follows the story of Du Leying played by Jia Ling, who also directs the film. Overweight and jobless, Du Leying spends her days lounging at her parent’s home. She meets boxing coach Hao Kun and decides it’s time for a change. But it’s not your typical weight-loss success story. It is so much more. Trust me. 

The first part of the film is just hilarious, the comedy and humor is Chinese, so it was refreshing, especially if you haven’t seen too many Chinese made films or series. By the time the second act comes into full swing, you are fully committed and you want Du Leying to succeed. 

The third act of the film, is a retelling of the first two parts but told from a different perspective, the one that the audience does not see initially. And if you aren’t #TeamDuLeying at this point, well you surely will be! And yes, it would be totally understandable to be crying. The audience comes to understand what a truly kind person Du Leying is, no matter how much the people around her use her and take advantage of her kindness. And so you just want her to win in life. Even just once. 

There is one part of the movie that almost feels like a scene in a theater play and I love how it was done. Du Leying comes home after a disasterous turn of events. It is raining, pouring hard, the wind is howling. It’s a tragic scene. She climbs up the stairs of her apartment, the lights magically turning on as she steps on each floor. It is both sad and funny at the same time. Trying to describe it in writing doesn’t do the scene justice. It was an ingenius concept and brilliantly executed, but it doesn’t end there. What happens behind the curtains of Du Leying’s apartment will surely break your heart.

The film easily transcends language and culture as everyone has experienced hardhship and challenges in their life. And in these trying times, the people whom you love and trust will choose to kick you while you’re down. Du Leying goes through all of this, yet she chooses to never give up, to persevere and to finally win in life, on her own terms.

It really is an “iyak-tawa” experience, but the good kind. You will leave the cinema feeling inspired and happy. And maybe even get a gym membership or start your own fitness journey. By the time the film ends, you are already on a high, laughing, crying, but, make sure to stay for when the credits start to roll for a jaw-dropping surprise.

Cacth YOLO in early screenings on April 8 and 9. Regular cinema run on April 17.