Always Be My Maybe review - the Asian-American love story that breathes new life into a saturated genre
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Co-written and produced by its two leading protagonists - Ali Wong and Randall Park - Always Be My Maybe follows the story of childhood best friends Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) who grow up next door to each other in San Francisco. It's a common backstory: one child's parents are more absent than the other, meaning they spend every waking moment with the best friend's parents. In this case, Sasha's parents own a shop, meaning she spends most evenings with Marcus' mum learning to cook. When Marcus' mum passes away in an accident and Sasha and Marcus lose their virginities to each other, suddenly a wedge comes between them. We skip forward to years later when Sasha is a celebrity chef living in LA and Marcus is living with his father, dancing around in his pants and smoking fat spliffs with his high school band. It's comforting to see the woman out on top, albeit stuck with a terrible fiancé (Brandon Choi, played by Daniel Dae Kim) and focussing on her work, with her best friend Veronica (Michelle Buteau) by her side. In a film where representation doesn't just matter, but is the essence and soul of the story, Veronica is a brilliant, witty woman, expecting her first child with her girlfriend.
Ali Wong's character's name in #AlwaysBeMyMaybe is Sasha Tran. As someone's whose favorite rom-com is 'When Harry Met Sally,' I never imagined a rom-com heroine would share a last name with me. I'm feeling very emotional right now— Diep Tran (@diepthought) June 2, 2019
There has never, I repeat never, been a Vietnamese American lead in a romantic comedy not to mention in one she wrote and produced. As always, context matters before we even hit play #AlwaysBeMyMaybe #HelloPeril— Kim Tran (@but_im_kim_tran) June 3, 2019
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Keanu plays the ultimate piss-take of himself so well; it's comical, irritating, cringe-worthy and unapologetically hilarious. Keanu adds that extra bit of com to director Nahnatchka Khan's almost-perfect rom-com. Delving back into the rom, we're delving into vital issues of the fear of the unknown, men saying they want a "strong woman" but really only wanting a cheerleader who stands on the sidelines and looks pretty, and the complexities of traditional power dynamics in a relationship. It's a good fight - one that needs to be aired. But of course, it wouldn't be a romcom without the grand burst of love to lift our cold, dead hearts. The end harks back to the leads' traditional Asian culinary roots.
Keanu is amazing in ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE. pic.twitter.com/6T1y6YWzlQ— Angelica Jade (@angelicabastien) May 31, 2019
Always Be My Maybe is a breath of fresh air for the romcom genre. Director Khan and co-producers Wong and Randall don't just reinvigorate the genre as a whole, but complement its existing storylines with quirky details of modern Asian-American life rarely seen on screen before. It's playful, satirical, uplifting and a joy from start to finish. Always Be My Maybe is on Netflix now. Lead image credit: Netflix
always be my maybe is the cutest movie ever pic.twitter.com/fzeCdNdwlh— gabifresh (@gabifresh) June 4, 2019