It seems that all mothers around the world have almost the same thing in terms of maintaining the pillars that support their household, in order to create harmony and happiness for their children. Although sometimes hurt that leads to a broken heart is the reward that must be accepted.
Even so, there are various secrets that are almost always closed tightly, which sometimes become a life burden that is so heavy when borne alone. Mothers with various complexities of life choices for their families sometimes do not always produce pleasant outputs , but they are usually the best.
So it is with films about familywhere a mother is the central figure. Usually the stories will be so relevant, personal, even in some cases so sentimental . In essence, films about families with all their problems usually succeed in touching our hearts because the stories are really close.
Likewise with the Taiwanese film that the author just watched titled Little Big Women by director Joseph Hsu, which is said to have been inspired by the true story of his grandmother. This film also became his directorial debut for a feature film after previously directing two short films, one of which was titled Guo Mie as the inspiration for the film Little Big Women .
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The film, which in 2020 became a blockbuster in its home country, also won many nominations at the Golden Horse Award, which is the highest award event in Taiwan. Namely getting nominations in the categories Best New Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Film Score, Best Original Film Song , andBest Supporting Actress . With the Best Leading Actress category, Shu-Fang Chen won the title, who is indeed the central figure in this film.
Shu Fang Chen herself in this film plays the role of Mrs. Lin Shoying who is a single parent with three daughters. They are Yu (Vivian Hsu), Ching (Ying-Hsuan Hsieh), and Jiajia (Ke-Fang Sun).
On Lin Shoying's 70th birthday, Lin and her three children received news that Chen Bochang, who was her husband and father of her three children, had died after dozens of years of disappearing without a word. It turns out that Chen Bochang also has a new relationship with a younger woman named Tsai Meilin (Ning Ding).
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The birthday event which had been prepared with great fanfare did not go according to plan. There is a little sadness there behind the happiness that should be felt that night.
However, Chen Bochang's death was the beginning of a new story in Lin Shoying's family. A story that reveals all the secrets that have been hidden so far, in the veil of deep heartbreak.
Taiwan is undeniably always good at providing drama stories that are not only warm but also feel close. Likewise, this film is able to present the daily conditions of Asian people, complete with various traditions and beliefs that are so realistic and detailed.
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For the author, the experience of watching Little Big Women is like watching the diary of a mother whose figure we may know in our neighborhood or maybe even our own mother. This is because Lin Shoying's character shows a mother figure who is not only strong, but also smart and friendly to her surroundings even though she has to live alone raising her three children without a husband.
Of course Lin Shoying's lively character cannot be separated from Shu Fang Chen's skill in exploring the emotional side of Lin Shoying.
From the outside, Lin Shoying was like an average mother. Willing to go to the market early in the morning on his birthday to prepare food, listen diligently to his child's daily stories, also love his grandson, Clementine (Buffy Chen).
But deep inside, Lin is a tough woman who is trained to endure, loves her children and cares about her surroundings, even though she has to shut down the secret of life that feels so painful.
Although this film initially looks like a film of "an oppressed wife vs. a perpetrator," but as the film progresses the audience gets more than just the conflict of "nickels". The adage that there could be no smoke if there was no fire was successfully explored by the director. So that instead of judging the complicated marriage conflict, the audience is allowed to reflect and empathize with each character involved in the conflict.
That each character here is not completely wrong, nor is it entirely true. There is both sin and goodness that arise from each person. Show that they are completely human.
We will indeed feel the sadness and annoyance that Lin Shoying is experiencing. However, we are also invited to care about the figures of Tsai Meilin and Chen Bochang, who were indeed brought together at the lowest point of Chen Bochang's life. A point where he felt that he was not the best man for his wife, children, and extended family. And his departure from his family was a painful compulsion.
Her three children also have a large enough portion in this film. Where Ching, Yu, and Jiajia always try to wake the mother to move on from the bad memories caused by her father. At the same time trying to find out who Tsai Meilin was present in the middle of the relationship between the mother and father.
The three of them also have different life problems. Ching is dominant and stubborn and easy to fall in love with, as if he inherited his father's attitude. Meanwhile, the second brother Yu became the "most successful" child because he had a good career and family. Meanwhile, the last child Jiajia inherited the Lin family's restaurant business, where he was the most critical and the first to try to reconcile his mother with Tsai Meilin.
The problem with each child makes the story of this film even more interesting. Where the differences in attitudes and ways of solving the three problems lead them to a new chapter of their relationship with their mother, which in the end opens up various secrets that should have been revealed.
Apart from Shu Fang-Chen whose spotlight was always directed at him, the writer also liked Ke Fang-Sun's acting as the smallest child in the Lin family. He successfully plays the youngest child who is smart but a little "clumsy" and the most blind to the initial conflicts that occur in his family.
Where like family, big secrets are usually kept by the first child even though not all of these secrets are revealed. And Ying Hsuan Hsieh and Vivian Hsu managed to portray older siblings who are different in character but still harmonious and love family.
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