Movie Review: The Story of 90 Coins

The Story of 90 Coins (2015)

Genre/s: Drama, Romance

Running Time: 9 minutes and 23 seconds

Released On October 22, 2015 (CH Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Writers: Jackie Bai and Gao Xiaofei

Director: Michael Wong

  • Han Dongjun as Wang Yuyang
  • Zhuang Zhiqi as Chen Wen
  • Jose Acosta as Andre
  • Produced by Liu Yunsong 
  • Executive Produced by Doris Tao 
  • Direction of Photography by Jian Liwei
  • Art Direction by Wang Weiyuan
  • Edited by Song Kaiyi
  • Music by An Wei
  • Camera Work by Arri Alexa

Midterms are coming, and fast, and what better way to regain my much needed strength and motivation than by diving headfirst into the vivid world of cinema. A few weeks back, an up-and-coming Malaysian China-based film and advertising director Michael Wong personally sent us a request via email to review one of his works, a multiple award-winning romantic short film. This is the actual first time that we have been caught under the radar of anyone in the industry, so this is truly one of our finest achievements so far! Also, this is the first time that we are reviewing a short film. This is still a movie review, since this is technically a movie. With that, welcome back to Dateline Movies, and this is our official review of The Story of 90 Coins.

What is the movie about?

Businessman Wang Yuyang, played by Dongjun (Wuxin: The Monster Killer), is hopelessly in love with fashion expert Chen Wen, played by Zhiqi.

One night, Wang asked for her hand in marriage, but Chen denies, and now, he vows to make the next ninety days of their relationship romantic.

Each day, Wang gives a coin to Chen, with the total amount being saved for a marriage certificate.

But when Chen's co-worker, named Andre, played by Acosta, is getting too close, Chen must make a tough decision. Career, or love?

What we think of the movie?

It is a short film, so obviously we would not be getting as much cinematic depth that we regularly see in all of the greatest movies out there. This is so due to its limited running time. However, from past experiences, I have learned that a wonderful story can always be told in a matter of an incredibly short span of minutes and seconds. If you, like the rest of us at our school, myself included, have been watching a lot of emotionally powerful and creative advertisements, then you know that what I am saying is true. The Story of 90 Coins is most certainly one of those films that fall under the "heartwarming" category.

The story practically follows a semi-straightforward plot, wherein we revisit the theme of "dream versus destiny," a concept that explores the dilemma of one character, struggling to choose whether or not to pursue her dreams, and abandon the one of many things that really make her the happiest. Normally, you would expect that by the end, they would get back together, despite the initial hardships, but by the conclusion, they did not, and what the lady only feels is now is regret. Heartbreaking, absolutely, but it is actually pretty predictable, given that movies such as La La Land have followed a similar formula. But do not let the slight predictability ruin your experience. Thanks to the short film's unexpected charm, you would not even care about how predictable it tends to be. The narration does help expand the plot so much more, and it really makes the characters much more realistic and three-dimensional.

While yes, there are cliches, I wholeheartedly love the concept of the movie, which is all about a man giving one coin a day in order to save enough money for their married future, as well as the timely moral lesson of "not knowing what one has until it is gone." The concept itself is strange at first (Giving a coin daily is not something that most would consider a romantic gesture in the real world), but after discovering the symbolic purpose of the coins, I could not help myself but awe in delight. I also enjoyed the scene when Chen recalls their happier times during the ninety day duration, although I would actually love to see a feature-length version of this that covers the entire ninety days. Something that is just as innovative and original as (500) Days of Summer, but not something that is overly similar as the aforementioned movie.

The acting for the short film is nothing short of believable. In most cases, a lot of romantic dramas fail to completely establish a good chemistry between its two leads. Both Dongjun and Zhiqui have a remarkable onscreen connection, and I especially enjoy the scene with the two of them drinking some orange sodas by a store. Fine, it is cheesy, but thanks to their finely tuned performances, the scene ended up somewhat still corny, but funny and sweet at the same time. Also, even if his character had an approximately ten seconds of screen time, Jose Acosta was okay at best.

The crew did a wonderful job with the behind-the-scenes matters, and Wong certainly has a huge eye for the camera, given that the simple yet eye-catching visuals the movie offers.

Lastly, An Wei does a neat job with the music, even if the score does get repetitive after the first three replays in-between scenes.

Overall, this pleasantly entertaining short film on love, regret and dreams is simple enough to be predictable, but its heartfelt and captivating performances and execution, under the hand of Michael Wong, make for a decent experience!

And that marks the conclusion of our first ever short film review. Special thanks once more to director Michael Wong for giving us this spectacular opportunity to review his masterwork. I hope to see more of you very, very soon, Mister Wong. If you want to know more about the inner workings of the short film, simply like and visit their Facebook page by clicking here, and by following them on their Twitter account, @StoryOf90Coins. Also, be sure to checkout more of his other works, such as this cool promotional material for Foton. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


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