I Will Make You Mine
Lynn Chen’s I Will Make You Mine beautifully completes a lovely trilogy most people have probably never heard of, which began with Dave Boyle’s Surrogate Valentine (2011) and continued with Daylight Savings (2012).
Cult-favourite singer Goh Nakamura played himself in the first entry, in which we follow him on the road drifting through life and love. Daylight Savings picked up where Surrogate Valentine left off, with Goh’s whimsical story enlivened by the potential of a strong relationship. But his girlfriend Erika (Ayako Fujitani) breaks up with him, so he leaves to go on a road trip to Vegas.
The marvellous thing about I Will Make You Mine is that the reigns are handed over to Chen by Boyle for the final instalment and, consequently, she flips the perspective to the women in Goh’s life: Rachel (played by Chen herself); Yea-Ming (Yea-Ming Chen), also a musician; and Erika, who is now a professor co-raising a daughter with Goh. All three women are connected by the fact that they dated Goh and his return to town lays the foundations for a highly nuanced tale of re-examining relationships and reconciling the past with the present.
Sticking with the black-and-white visual of the other films, this trilogy closer is every bit as leisurely, whimsical and unembellished. The ultra-low-budget, mumblecore-adjacent, droll comicality have a relatively niche cinematic appeal, but the execution here is pure catnip for those who enjoy such movies. Add to that a peaceful acoustic soundtrack, which will surely bring in several new listeners to the works of Nakamura and Yea-Ming Chen.
I Will Make You Mine is the best entry in the Surrogate Valentine tripartite, smartly developing the characters and themes from the first features, and overall this series has felt like a mini-movement – more than just a trio of quirky films. The cast here is largely made up of Asian-Americans but the narrative doesn’t revolve around culturally specific issues. Instead, the attention is drawn to identity and representation because we never see this community have their stories told with such an aesthetic or universality. We hope to see more.
I Will Make You Mine is released digitally on demand on 26th May 2020.
Watch the trailer for I Will Make You Mine here: