Shawn Seet’s film, “Five Blind Dates,” is a romcom starring Shuang Hu in the principal role. Hu has also co written the film with Nathan Ramos-Park. It is set up by the protagonist, Lia, with the air of a fairy tale. It is glossy and lush in its visuals as it tries to beam through a tale of a woman finding her feet professionally and a potential soulmate. Yes, the film invests in the soulmate idea within its airy construct, but the writing doesn’t give the spark of the connection that possibly happens in encounters with a soulmate.

Five Blind Dates (2024) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

When we first meet Lia (Shuang Hu), a young Chinese immigrant, she is struggling to keep her tea shop in Sydney running with her closest friend, Mason (Ilai Swindells), built from the money left to her by her grandmother.  The shop has been rankling, the overdue bills piling up, and Lia’s remaining inheritance money can help her scrape through another month’s rent at most. Lia gets invited to her hometown of Townsville to attend the engagement party of her sister, Alice (Tiffany Wong).

When she meets her family, a fortune teller comes in to predict Alice’s future. While it’s pretty good for her, Lia is told her love lines and career lines are linked. She is advised to make a decision soon about her marital partner as her soulmate would be from five blind dates she would have to go on before the wedding, which is two months away. Her family is enthusiastic and takes prompt initiative. Lia herself is dismissive but takes a shot anyway since her tea shop has been dangling, and she wouldn’t mind a push. At the party, Lia meets her childhood best friend and ‘first letdown,’ Richard (Yoson An). The two are still noticeably drawn to each other, but Lia effectively brushes aside any developments.

Why Most of Lisa’s Dates Don’t Go Well?

Lia’s estranged father sets up a date with a tech billionaire, Apollo Wang (Desmond Chiam). Lia is startled when Apollo reveals his desire to make her a permanent wife while he pursues a host of open relationships. He tells her she, too, would have equal freedom in having any sort of relationship outside the artificial marriage and enjoy all the luxuries of his empire. Lia cannot see herself in any such situation.

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The next is the date her mother planned, which turns out to be a teacher from her school, Ezra (Jon Prasida). It seems to be going well until she realizes it is her mother, whom Ezra is actually interested in, and agrees to the date only for her happiness. Alice’s recommended date, a spiritual guide, Curtis (Rob Collins), gives Lia a moment of respite, but the thought of a longer relationship with the man turns her off.

Five Blind Dates (2024) Movie Review & Ending Explained
A still from “Five Blind Dates” (2024)

Lia is vexed with her failing prospects at all the dates and her shop. She rants at her family, her mother for being too afraid to follow her happiness, and her sister for being timid in her pink, comfortable fantasy. She erupts at a guy who comes into the tea shop asking for bubble tea, while she has kept insisting on the shop being focused on artisanal tea offering the best of the Chinese experience. The guy makes a video of her explosive rant, which goes viral, turning Lia into social media stardom and pulling droves of visitors into the shop. Lia also gives an elaborate makeover to the shop.

Five Blind Dates (2024) Movie Ending Explained:

Who Does Lisa End Up With?

It is at Alice’s wedding that Nigel, her partner, informs Lia how Richard had to take care of his sick mother and look after his whole family, which is why he couldn’t join Lia in the Sydney tea shop. Lia had felt betrayed by him when he refused since it had been a childhood promise between the two. All this while, she had been hurting from being rejected, and this new revelation opens her up to Richard’s unspoken generosity, niceness, and reliability, including how he makes all the bonbonnieres for Alice’s wedding, something that Lia was supposed to chip in as well but refused to cooperate and then forgot all of it. She realizes how her soulmate had been in front of her all this while, and the two finally get together.

Five Blind Dates (2024) Movie Review:

Shawn Seet’s film is primed for a Valentine’s Day watch. It is designed to be light and lovely, fluffy and frivolous. It doesn’t aim to make any heavy, imposing demands on the viewer. The task is, therefore, simple. But to render joy and good cheer, you do need a script that doesn’t constantly fall back on every dated trope to build drama and romance. You’d definitely need more than a stock characterization that barely reveals any flashes of real emotion other than externalized, manicured stabs of expression tailored to a given particular moment. There’s little in the film that feels fresh and sparkling, most of it coated over with exhaustingly bland writing that struggles to glue together a set of thinly conceived situations the protagonist finds herself in.

That a film made in these times still recycles groan-inducing cliches as a gay best friend who exists simply for the lead’s solid emotional support makes it instantly unappealing. Ilai Swindells has to make do with the sorry role of a swashbuckling gay character who is a fashion maven and seems to float through the world. The film sets him up only in a relational dynamic with Lia, leaving us with practically nothing that we could possibly discover about his complex, holistic self. The writing is consistently narrow, bending conveniently to accommodate a sudden gush of warmth or a jolt of hard, bitter rant. Characters routinely slide into autopilot mode, bereft of layers and shades in their writing. While the men are all pleasingly attractive, none of them have any animating spirit.

Shuang Hu delivers a perfectly amiable performance. She has an immensely likable presence that helps you breeze through the film despite being saddled with a script that could have used more wit. Unfortunately, her character is stuck in a tired route that hinges too heavily on a last-minute snatch of information that warms her up to who she ends up with. This parceling out of insight to make the main character’s decision click into place is spurious and strikes all the false notes. It doesn’t help that the utter predictability of the final choice ensures a grating absence of delightful surprise. We know exactly the minute who it’d be the minute he is introduced, which takes out most of the fun in feasible guesswork if the film had provided us that benefit.

Read More: Everything Coming to Prime Video in February 2024


Five Blind Dates (2024) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Letterboxd
The Cast of Five Blind Dates (2024) Movie: Shuang Hu, Yoson An, Jon Prasida
Five Blind Dates (2024) Movie Genre: Comedy/Drama, Runtime: 2h 11m

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