Surrogate Valentine

November 22, 2013

Where do musicians find inspiration for their songs? And most especially, what makes that inspiration so galvanizing that they sacrifice their livelihood to express it? Would most people understand and appreciate that spiritual necessity?


Goh is a singer/songwriter who scrapes by singing songs. The problem with such musicians, or really in the creation of commercial art, is that it is hard to get noticed. When it is just one man and his guitar, he is competing not only against the major channels for the distribution of music, namely the big record stores and their monopolies on radio, but also the tens of thousands of other singer/songwriters who have an emotion they wish to convey and a tuned guitar. This in itself is not to criticize Goh’s decision to be a solo musician. It only provides background to the story about someone who realizes the actor he is training is actually going to dramatize Goh’s unsuccessfulness. Such non success includes long road trips between San Francisco and Seattle. Routinely.


The actor shadowing Goh eats up the lifestyle however. As a transient C grade celebrity, he is along for the ride, enjoying feasting off of his previous success. He never truly expresses his passion for learning about the musician, only the façade of what a failed one looks like. This does take a semi-dramatic turn in the film however when he learns that his claim to fame has ended and he is in the proverbial same boat as Goh.


Along the way from the main focus of this story is Goh’s nostalgic romance. It simply never gets off the ground from a technical standpoint. There is no gravity to suggest the necessity for Goh to coincidentally attempt to become more intimate with a long standing friend who he has always admired. And she returns the lack of flavor. Yes, they enjoy each other’s company, but that’s it. They are in completely different worlds and it takes the final moments of the film for Goh to realize that.


What is the intent of the film? I suppose it is to explore the emptiness that is consistently covered up by a musician. Because when it is exposed, it hurts.


Grade: B



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