Short Film Review: ‘The Story of 90 Coins’, a Glimpse at the End of Romance

Image via Michael Wong

Michael Wong’s short film, The Story of 90 Coins (2015), is a beautiful intersection of romance, promise, heartbreak, plans and regret. What begins as a beautiful and fresh perspective to the romcom genre, goes beyond clichés of ‘happily ever after’ to a realistic alternative to relationships.

The story, mostly in Chinese (and bit-part English), starts off with these two lovers on polar ends of the relationship, Chen Wen (Zhuang Zhiqi) who wants to transform his relationship with Wang Yuyang (Dongjun Han) into a marriage, but she is not interested in that, all she wants is for the couple to have a place over their heads. Chen then takes on a challenge of giving her 10-cent coin wrapped in papers for 90 days. He hopes to buy their wedding certificate with the sum total of the money, or they end their relationship with drinks purchased with the same money. They complete their challenge but ambition, uncommunication and ego have other plans for them. 

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The brevity of the film was perfect to deliver the message of the film, it however leaves the audience wanting more, a second chance,which most people do not usually get. And with that, Michael Wong has successfully told a story about the other side of romantic relationships.

Usually, short films often pose the question of how to pass a message across to the audience, and many easily fall into the trap of being preachy with their films, which leaves a sour impression on the heart of the audience. However, Michael Wong aced this test, Wang Yuyang and Chen Wen’s performance easily draws out empathy from their viewers. Films are usually an escape to other worlds for their viewers; The Story of 90 Coins is a strong short portal to such a world that leaves your heart wanting to see more.
In the end, this 9-minute-long short film will leave the audience wondering how electrifying a feature version of it would be.

The short film has done a number at film festivals, including Canada International Film Festival, Malta Short Film Festival, IndieFEST film awards amongst a host of others, often leaving in its wake of awards and wins. 

The Story of 90 coins is available on YouTube and  Vimeo.

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