By Lim Yian Lu
Length: 101 minutes
Director: Liao Ming-yi
Cast: Nikki Hsieh, Austin Lin
3 out of 5 stars
Asia’s first iPhone-shot film I WeirDo is a romance focusing on the struggles of Chen Po-ching (Austin Lin) and Chen Ching (Nikki Hsieh), both of whom have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Po-ching has serious mysophobia which made him feel compelled to keep washing his hands. On the other hand, Chen Ching has the urge to steal things.
On the 15th of each month, Po-ching will go out to settle the daily necessities. But one day, he meets fellow “weirdo” Chen Ching, and subsequently breaks his “standard operating procedure” so he can see her again.
The two think it is fate that they met each other, for they understand each other so well and the difficulties they face every day. As the couple begins to date, their relationship seems perfect at first. However, everything starts changing and going downhill when Po-ching suddenly recovers from OCD.
In the beginning of the movie, the aspect ratio of the video is square – you might wonder if there is anything wrong with the film, or whether the cinema staff put the wrong video settings. But no, this is actually one of the techniques used in I WeirDO to highlight the effects of OCD — everything must be nicely aligned and balanced. Before you realise it, the aspect ratio will change to a more usual format, right at the point when Po-ching’s OCD disappears.
On a deeper level, the movie reflects on what is considered “normal” or “weird”. Just because you are different from others, does that mean you are abnormal? In the worlds of Po-ching and Chen Ching, having OCD is a normal thing. In fact, it is the pillar that supports their relationship, and they would rather stay like this forever.
OCD aside, the movie also showcases the potential problems every relationship will face: changes in life. In the case of Po-ching and Chen Ching, it is the recovery from OCD and ultimately the desire to lead a “normal” life. Although the ending of I WeirDO is more of a cliffhanger, the decision that Chen Ching should make is perhaps to work on communication in the relationship instead, to re-establish that sense of understanding the couple once had.
Austin Lin won a Golden Horse award for best supporting actor in 2016 Chinese-Taiwanese romance film At Cafe 6, and Nikki Hsieh made her acting debut in the popular 2005 Taiwanese television drama It Started With A Kiss. While they are not the best actors out there, they still managed to bring out the quirkiness of OCD — although some parts of the script are awfully exaggerated, such as the eating out scene.
Interestingly shot using iPhone, I WeirDO dives into the world of OCD and reveals the struggles faced in daily life and love matters. However, the plot and ending could have been improved. On a side note, Austin Lin must have worked out a lot, judging from his exceptionally toned body during the shower scenes.
Release date: 17 September 2020 (Singapore)