Fagara(Hong Kong in Chinese)
Starring Sammi Cheng as Acacia, Megan Lai as Branch, Li Xiaofeng as Cherry
Directed by Heiward Mark
Rating: ** ½
This Hong Kong production has become quite a rage outside its home domain mainly because the characters are culture-blind. Though they are purely Oriental in looks and language with plenty of chinks in their armours the three sisters Acacia(Sammi Cheng) , Branch(Megan Lai) and Cherry(Li Xiaofeng) are bonded by their shared desire to find solace in their stubborn sisterhood.
The three girls, products of different mothers grow up in different countries but are reunited when their charismatic father passes away. Curiously a quasi-feminist feelgood film like Fagara seems eager to forgive a man for three lives and wives and hence the rootcause of the sense of father-less diaspora that our heroines endure.
Among the three sisters the plot chooses Acacia as the main protagonist. As she speaks to those who knew her father well specially a genial doctor at the hospital where he spent his last days, Acacia begins to be be drawn close to the father she grew up hating. The other two sisters, one a poolplayer with Mom issues the other a punky spunky blogger with Grandmom issues, come together with Acacia to salvage the restaurant that their father ran.
This is as predictable as it can get.As I write about the film I am hit again by its palpable pedestrian ism and a chick plot that spares us none of stereotypes and clichés of the genre including of course a big sisters-getting-sloshed scene in the middle of the night , and a Papa-we-forgive-you shout-out at the end.
The performances that ought to propel the plot forward are largely unremarkable, except for Wa Yanshu as the grandmother and Richie Jen as the doctor (who before the End cures our sullen heroine Acacia of her men-oh-pause) who succeed in showing more sparkle than the story generates.
Fagara is purely a plot that moves by numbers. It packs in everything one expects in a film about three estranged sisters except dramatic tension. When the sisters meet they are immediately bantering and backchatting as if being sired by an over-fertile father in three different households is just an incidental snag quickly forgotten and miraculously healed. So shall we kick up a fun storm?
Fagara is fun for these times when dark horror films insist on breaking into our homes when all we want is comfort food for the soul.