Earlier this month, Love in Taipei premiered on Paramount+ on August 10th. I’ve been behind on my blogging, but wanted to let everyone know about some things about the movie, including a free promo code to see it, a review, and a Q&A session held in San Francisco that I attended (warning – spoilers in the Q&A).
Love is Taipei is available on Paramount+ streaming service. If you don’t have that service, you can watch it on Paramount+ with the one month free promo code: TAIPEI. This offer is good until 9/10. Note that the normal free trial is only for a week. If you’re already subscribed, you can click here to start the film.
Overall, for a streaming film aimed for the Young Adult (“YA”) audience, I enjoyed this romantic drama adapted from the best selling book, Loveboat, Taipei. In contrast, a friend of mine, who also went on the actual Love Boat like I did, thought that there was more drama in an episode of Saved by the Bell than in the film. As stated on Parmount Plus, the plot of the film is:
“A young woman’s cultural immersion program in Taiwan turns out to be a liberating free-for-all known as “Loveboat” where unexpected romance leads her to question her future. Based on the best-selling book “Loveboat, Taipei” by Abigail Hing Wen.”
I never got around to reading Loveboat, Taipei, as I don’t think I’ve read any fiction since college … so I couldn’t exactly tell you what the differences are, except from this review:
“When she wrote her bestselling YA novel “Loveboat, Taipei,” Bay Area author Abigail Hing Wen met her audience where they were, detailing the delightful summer debauchery of Taiwanese American teens. Sure, there’s earnest self-discovery and cultural exploration as her characters take in their ancestral homeland, but there’s also sex, racy photo shoots, backstabbing and reconciliation.
Now adapted as a film, the most risque thing to happen in the novel’s story onscreen just might be a closed-mouth kiss. And it’s a shame, because this is one absolutely gorgeous cast.”
I’m assuming the decision was made due to audience considerations. Personally, I think I would have enjoyed the racier version! What I did love was that Love in Taipei was actually filmed in Taiwan. Taipei is a character in the film, very much like how Singapore was in Crazy Rich Asians. I think Taipei and Taiwan are underated vacation destinations for most Americans, so I’m more than happy to see when they can get highlighted in popular culture or in the news.
In any case, the main character, Ever Wong (Ashley Liao) does a lot of self reflection during her stay in Taiwan and meets two very different young men who relate to her challenges differenty — Boy Wonder Rick Woo (Ross Butler) and troublemaker Xavier Yeh (Nico Hiraga). There isn’t a lot of drama, but the characters are relateable. I thought that the lead actors all did an excellent job, especially Ashley Liao – her first leading role. If you liked To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, you should enjoy Loveboat, Taipei – and audiences seemed to have enjoyed the film as well, with an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes.
WARNING – Spoilers in Video below!
Screening & post-Q&A in San Francisco
Before Love in Taipei became available for streaming, Abigail Hing Wen had organized a private screening in San Francisco with many different community partners and had a Q&A on Wednesday, August 2nd. Andrew Yang made some remarks, and Kristen Sze from the local news ABC7 hosted the Q&A.
Note that there are spoilers in the video below!