Emotional Girl (1993)

Directed by: Chan Wing-Chiu
Written by: Cheung Lai-Ling
Producers: Andy Chin & Joe Hau
Starring: Cecilia Yiu, Ng Suet-Man, Chang Kuo-Chu, Teddy Chen, Lam Wai & Julie Lee

Buy the DVD at:
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Who knows why 1993 was a hot year for Chan Wing-Chiu who premiered three movies (3 Days Of A Blind Girl and Rebel Without A Cause) and no emergence took place until 2005 again with A Side, B Side, Seaside. But the eyes will still firmly be on this III, III, II run (the latter rating belonging to the popular 3 Days Of A Blind Girl). Out of the trio, this is my second go with Chan's filmmaking and while you applaud the professional nature and fair thoughtfulness to Emotional Girl (also known under the extended title Emotional Girl - Doubt of Distress), it's also an uneventful character journey. Not enough messed up exploitation takes place within this III for sure but remember, if an actual good movie had been delivered, the stripped down nature to the sex film genre Emotional Girl belongs to would've been welcome and valid. You see, the III hounds can deal with depth and complexity too... if there had been any.

Ivy (Cecilia Yiu) runs into childhood friend Jean (Ng Suet-Man) and starts to frequently hang out at the her house where father Stephen (Chang Kuo-Chu - Patrick Tam's Love Massacre) lives with girlfriend Judy (Julie Lee - Trilogy Of Lust). It's a relationship where the flame has burnt out but young Ivy and older Stephen are drawn to each other. Engaging in a relationship not bothering the daughter, the couple realize they're only close when together and way different apart and when with other people. It all forces Ivy to go on a journey of self discovery and hopefully not self destruction...

Backed by a solid producing team consisting of Call Girl 92 and Victory director Andy Chin and lethal to surprisingly worthwhile director of the women's drama Right Here Waiting... and Phantom Of Snake, Joe Hau, it's sad to see chances being squandered due to inability to deliver within intelligent but slight material (slight COULD work as a HUGE compliment depending on the movie). Emotional Girl screams to be a thoughtful surprise but also a graphic, shameless piece of bonk-a-thon trying to dress itself up in intelligence. The latter mix would've been hilarious but the actual end results are empty in execution. Kudos for going against audience expectations (lack of extensive sex but mainly the 'twist' that Ng Suet-Man encourages the romance between best friend and father) and evoking interest in the erotic build up between Ivy and Stephen, it's worth going into Julie Lee's supporting role as well. Playing the sex crazy girlfriend Stephen is tired of, even when she's climbing over him literally, you actually feel sympathy for her as she's essentially excluded and bullied in quite the mean way as the film goes on. Especially so since we get no background to what led to the stale status between her and Stephen. Now that ISN'T a compliment to the narrative.

Emotional Girl definitely knows not to overstay its welcome though and moves swiftly towards and through its key points but again, the mild execution of a somewhat tamer Category III romantic drama begins to rear its head all too visibly. Ivy and Stephen work as a couple leading up to the getting physical moment but not much heat or emotions can be gathered after this point, by design Their obvious differences as a fragile, young woman and scared adult are obvious (his status in the world of real estate means Ivy is very much an outside element) and structurally it's kind of surprising to see Ivy taking a separate journey into a different film almost by the latter stages.

Gotta achieve maturity, drop insecurities and approach the world with feet firmly planted on the ground. That's what the script says but none of the emotions, big or small show up on screen and the title Emotional Girl obviously is very misleading. Sexy girl apparently going through something big in an attractive package for 18+ audiences only sums it up better but that isn't much of a compliment either.

The DVD (Universe):

Video: 1.74:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. Despite lack of anamorphic enhancement, the print used is actually remastered, something which is a rare treat for such an obscure flick.

Audio: Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 and Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0.

Subtitles: English, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese.

Extras: Trailers for Emotional Girl, A Chinese Torture Chamber Story II (it wasn't included on the dvd for that film) and Viva Erotica.

 

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson