Watch Moon Cake Story (2017) | Synopsis and Review

 After Hijab Traveler: Love Sparks in Korea (Guntur Soeharjanto, 2016), Morgan Oey and Bunga Citra Lestari again appear in pairs in the latest film directed by Garin Nugroho (Guru Bangsa Tjokroaminoto, 2015) produced by the Tahir Foundation, Moon Cake Story. The film itself is about an accidental meeting between a businessman named David (Oey) and a 3-in-1 jockey named Asih (Lestari). Both harboring grief due to the loss of their loved ones, the meeting then takes David to his past when he and his mother still live in the slums and struggle to survive by making mooncakes in their daily life. Knowing that Asih has a talent for cooking, David offers Asih a mold and recipe for mooncakes that belonged to his mother so that Asih can start her own business. Although at first she felt awkward with David's gift, Asih finally accepted and started making her own mooncakes.

If likened to a dish, Moon Cake Story actually has all the right ingredients to make into a warm and delicious dish to enjoy – even though it has a familiar taste. Nugroho, the cook, is also clearly not a person whose expertise needs to be doubted. However, no matter how good a cook is, even when they have obtained the best ingredients, there are times when the resulting dish has a taste far from what is expected. That's what happened to Moon Cake Story. The script for this film, which Nugroho worked on together with Winaldo Artaraya Swastia, wanted to tell a story about many things. Unfortunately, none of the conflicts and characters that are presented are then able to be developed properly. As a result, Moon Cake Story runs flat without ever really being able to explain the story carefully.

Just look at the development of the relationship between the characters of David and Asih. The relationship that was initially able to develop well - especially thanks to the convincing chemistry between Oey and Lestari - then felt stagnant due to the lack of a definite direction for the relationship between the two. The personal conflicts experienced by David's character are equally messy. The plot about the Alzheimer's disease that the character suffers from is often only felt as a mere plot device and patch without being given a more appropriate exploration. Likewise, the conflicting relationship between David's character and his family who never got a strong storytelling background - so many supporting characters became so confusing his presence. The split focus for many conflicts and characters is clearly the main reason why Moon Cake Story is finally unable to tell its full strength.

Those who are familiar with Nugroho's previous films – especially those about the issue of poverty or social inequality – are certainly familiar with the stories he tells in Moon Cake Story. Nugroho also still presents storytelling techniques with a theatrical style in several parts of the film's storytelling, including by inserting a musical scene in the middle of the film. Nugroho is indeed able to present Moon Cake Story with a storyline that does not feel long-winded, however, with the existence of a story plot that feels like story pieces that fail to blend well with one another, Moon Cake Story then comes without any emotional ties. this film actually needed to attract the attention of the audience.

Although it comes with a series of characters that are depicted quite weakly, Moon Cake Story comes with the support of strong acting performances from the ranks of the acting department filler. In addition to presenting convincing chemistry, Oey and Lestari were able to bring their characters to life well. Oey, in particular, is able to present a character with layers of personal conflict without ever feeling trapped in a shallow character portrayal. Other performances such as Dominique Diyose, Melati Zein and Deddy Sutomo are also present strong, although, again, they feel wasted due to their characters who are too shallow in their exploration. Moon Cake Story is actually not a bad film. However, with a series of conflicts and characters that are not able to be processed properly, this film feels like it has lost the essence of the story as well as its ability to tell a story. [C-]

moon-cake-story-movie-poster Moon Cake Story (2017)

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