Length: 116 minutes
Director: Victor Vu
Cast: Tran Nghia, Truc Anh, Tran Phong
Language: Vietnamese with various subtitles
Streaming on Netflix from 1 July
3 out of 5 stars
SINGAPORE — Dreamy Eyes is a Vietnamese romance film that stars Tran Nghia as Ngan, who falls in love at first sight with Ha Lan (Truc Anh) when they are six years old. At a little countryside called Do Do, the two share nostalgic memories as childhood friends. However, things start to change after Ha Lan goes to the city to study, and is no longer the pure and simple girl that Ngan once knew.
However, Ngan’s feelings for Ha Lan remain unrealistically unrequited and unconditional. Ngan continues to stay by her side even when she is made heartbroken by the playboy Dung (Tran Phong), or when she becomes pregnant with Dung’s child. Ngan even goes so far as to help Ha Lan take care of her child Tra Long (Khanh Van) in the countryside while she is busy working in the city. Despite Ngan doing so much for her, Ha Lan still refuses to accept him out of guilt and due to the lack of courage.
Simply put, the plot for Dreamy Eyes is not exactly groundbreaking. 30 years of unrequited love is also obviously too idealistic. The storyline even almost skewed into some weird turn of events when Tra Long becomes attracted to Ngan and attempts to kiss him, the man about 18 years her senior who actually raised her as a child. Thankfully, Ngan rejects her saying his heart only has space for one.
Nonetheless, the cinematography is certainly something to admire, with the setting picturesque enough to showcase the beauty of Vietnam’s rural areas. The scenes in the countryside can be likened to the sweet and innocent first love that warms one’s heart, enhanced by the golden tint applied to these sentimental scenes.
Furthermore, the ending is unexpectedly well done, which leaves the audience to ponder about what has happened. To quote the movie, “In this life, there are two things you should never miss. The last bus home. And the person that truly loves you.”
Dreamy Eyes also has some pretty good insert songs, although there are no translation or subtitles for the music. It would have been even more meaningful to see the lyrics, but the melody, like the song below, is perhaps enough to convey the feelings.
If you have not watched a Vietnamese film before, Dreamy Eyes could be your first, especially if you enjoy themes of childhood romance and nostalgia.