Your Name Engraved Herein is a Taiwanese romantic film directed by Kuang-Hui Liu. The film stars Edward Chen, Tseng Chin‑hua, Leon Dai, Lotus Wang and Barry Qu.
What do you do when you fall in love with someone you’re not “supposed to”? Do you suppress the feeling? Try to forget those feelings and move on? Or do you push through society’s barriers in an effort to get what you want and deserve? These questions and the feelings of desperation, loss and love are all expressed through Taiwanese romantic-drama film Your Name Engraved Herein.
Your Name Engraved Herein follows two schoolboys, Jia-Han and Birdy, and takes place in 1988 when Martial Law was abolished in Taiwan. However, that doesn’t stop people from following orthodox notions. When love is a crime, what do you do?
The film, for most of its runtime, focuses on the atrocious laws and harsh regulations that plagued the lives of Jia-Han and Birdy. Both of them are confused about their sexuality, and although they understand their growing feelings for each other, society’s harsh outlook is enough to dissuade them from exploring these feelings. What it results in is that the two boys constantly lash out at each other and go through trials and tribulations that are enough to destroy people’s lives.
Your Name Engraved Herein does not focus much on the transition between the period before and after the Martial Law. Instead, it’s an intimate look into the thoughts and feelings of Jia-Han and Birdy, who constantly fight with each other and others in order to come to terms with who they are. We also get to see what happens later on when the students have grown up.
We also get to see how unfair and unkind the society can be. However, we never get to know why there was such vehement stigmatisation of gay people and homosexuality. There’s a Christianity angle here as well but it is never fully explored.
The best and most heartbreaking moments are made up of the two boys trying to express their feelings for each other but constantly suppressing them for the fear of society. It’s a constant battle inside which tugs at your heartstrings and makes you long for a happy ending.
Edward Chen and Tseng Chin‑hua have done an excellent job at portraying the trials and tribulations of the two boys in such a deep emotional turmoil. More often than not you feel bad for the two of them and will long to make their difficulties go away. There’s a lot of genuineness in their characters and portrayals that will make you emotional, especially since they are going through something that is still relevant today. Your Name Engraved Herein is also shot beautifully, with scenes depicting the inner turmoil of the characters. The emotions come up on-screen beautifully and feel tragically romantic.
Your Name Engraved Herein doesn’t try to be a social commentary. In fact, it is far away from that. It’s a simple romantic movie with hints of comedy that tries to touch your heart with its storytelling and characterisations. There’s a lot of sadness to unpack, but the boys are lovable which makes for a sweet watch.
Summing up: Your Name Engraved Herein
Your Name Engraved Herein talks about the pain, passion and heartbreak of love that seems to be unachievable. Although it doesn’t go too deep behind the societal aspects of its theme, its portrayal of the “forbidden” romance between the two principal characters makes for an engaging and heartbreaking watch.
Your Name Engraved Herein is streaming on Netflix.
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