Marry My Dead Body 2023 Movie Review
Marry My Dead Body is a charming Taiwanese supernatural comedy that impressively does it all for the modern audience, delivering a laugh-out-loud comedy with affecting moments while subtly discussing a social topic.
While investigating an anti-drug case, police officer Wu Ming-han accidentally picks up a red envelope and ends up in a ghost marriage to Mao Mao, a gay man who died in a car accident in the midst of discussing his marriage. Mao Mao’s grandmother wants to fulfill her and her grandson’s wish to be married.
After a series of misfortune, Ming-han reluctantly accepts the ghost marriage and the spirit of Mao Mao appears. Ming-han helps Mao Mao complete his final wishes and Mao Mao helps with his investigation.
Writer-director Cheng Wei-hao, who made 2021’s The Soul, strikes a great balance between the zany comedy, cartoon-like action chase scenes, and teary moments. The three leads, Greg Hsu, Austin Lin, and Gingle Wang are charming and share great chemistry.
Same-sex marriage was legalized in Taiwan in 2019 and notably, the first country in Asia to do so. Marry My Dead Body discusses same-sex marriage as subtly as one could in a major commercial film. Clashing the traditional practice of ghost marriages and same-sex marriage is hilarious.
Comedy has a great way of taking an audience into their fears and anxiety and ridding them through laughter. The message never gets heavy-handed as there’s so much going on that the audience laughs through the countless gags.
Some of the gay humor may seem backward for Western audiences, but it’s done invitingly and never mean-spirited. It was culturally insightful as the film offers a glimpse into how things are in Taiwan.
The Grandma character particularly struck me. The image of an elderly woman setting up a ghost marriage for her dead grandson, unconcerned with his sexual orientation was quite touching to see. There was a lot of power in that image.
I’m glad Marry My Dead Body has done so well in Taiwan. It’s well deserved.