Some of my favorite movies are those that have now been given the term “Mumblecore.” This is when a movie is pretty much only about characters walking around, talking, reminiscing, while also conveying a compelling narrative along the way. Back in 2011, a film called SURROGATE VALENTINE made its way around a few film festivals, as well as its sequel, DAYLIGHT SAVINGS, in 2012. Having really enjoyed both of those films, I was very much looking forward to the conclusion of this trilogy eight years later. I WILL MAKE YOU MINE (2020) is now streaming on-demand and I absolutely recommend it to film fans, but only if you go back and watch SURROGATE VALENTINE and DAYLIGHT SAVINGS first.
The first two films followed Goh Nakamura and his struggling career, while also trying to juggle some romance in his life. Being with a few girls along the way, I WILL MAKE YOU MINE slightly takes the focus away from him, but also keeps him as the heart of the story. All three of his love interests in Yea-Ming (Yea-Ming Chen), Rachel (Lynn Chen), and Erika (Ayako Fujitani) are all at the forefront here, as they all come into contact with Goh once again. With the way that the story was left at the end of the last film, this movie just felt like one big breath of fresh air to me.
If you’re wondering what the story of this film is, it’s really just that. We pick up eight years later with Goh and these girls all come back into his life. These films are all under 80 minutes long and at their core, they’re really just letting you spend time with these characters. Unlike the films BEFORE SUNRISE (1995), BEFORE SUNSET (2004), and BEFORE MIDNIGHT (2013), these films felt even looser in terms of storytelling. That trilogy had a beginning, middle, and end, while these films could probably pick up once again in another ten years. So, if you’re looking for something very light and breezy to throw on one day, I would recommend watching all three of these movies.
SURROGATE VALENTINE and DAYLIGHT SAVINGS were both directed by Dave Boyle, who did a fantastic job with such low budgets. Following in that same vein, Lynn Chen, who also stars in the films as Rachel, tried her hand at both writing and directing this one, and I must admit, after making it through the first two movies, I believe this one had the most payoff. I think her directing capabilities are the best in the trilogy, not to take away anything from Boyle though. Although this was incredibly low budget, I would love to see her breakout with a slightly bigger budget and wider release.
In the end, it really is films like this that make me appreciate filmmaking so much. You can make a movie with a budget of 250–300 million dollars like AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019) and be fantastic, but sometimes it just takes the touch of a good filmmaker, no matter how big your budget is, in order to make something worth watching. I highly recommend this trilogy of films. Sure, some viewers may ponder what the point of these films even is, but I think you’ll appreciate it as a trilogy once you make it to I WILL MAKE YOU MINE. This third installment was great and the trilogy itself is very much worthwhile, especially for young filmmakers. It’s a great example of a low budget being used in the right way.