Someone in the Clouds is one of those films that a lot of people enjoy just like they would anything no matter its artistic or aesthetic value, and then they call it a guilty pleasure, which is but a rewording of a bad film that serves as background noise for more pleasant activities. In the first minute or two of the film, the concept and the plot seem wonderful, a love story narrated by the goddess of love and involving a fortuneteller whose cards serve as an initiation of a relationship, but immediately afterwards, it becomes clear that this 1 hour and 40 minutes long film is gonna be as generic as it gets, following a formula so many directors know by heart nowadays to appeal to simple-minded teenagers and those seeking a not-so-noisy background noise.

The story revolves around two characters, the fortuneteller cocky teenager Hsiao-pei and the typical even cockier teenager Chiung-nan. The latter sees her at her tarot cards club and uses the cards to ask her out, and afterwards, a “beautiful” messy relationship blossoms between the two, as they discover love, and the joy it brings both of them, and then later deal with doubt, treachery and heartbreak, only to be reunited at last, naturally.

Someone in the Clouds 2019 NYAFF
Photo: © 2019 Film Mall Co.Ltd

I have to admit that the cinematography of the film is actually not bad, some shots were actually fairly beautiful and some were even original and innovative, which is the last thing I would associate with this film. The mechanic the film uses to narrate the story, which is a chapter dedicated to every certain period of time, works pretty well for the majority of the film, but in the final parts of it, it loses its coherence and what is essentially a bland story gets unnecessarily complicated.

Also, Read – Complicity [2019] NYAFF Review: A Constant Struggle of Being an Outsider

So what makes Someone in the Clouds so bad? For me, I think the main reason is that it brings absolutely nothing new to the table, and the old phrase, “why change it if it works”, doesn’t work here, because what it brings is already anything but interesting. It is commercial, generic and very cheesy. It takes notions like love and strips them of all of their magic and appeal, and even its attempt to use fortunetelling to initiate love winds up a complete failure once you realize that it actually serves no purpose in the film and that it could easily be replaced by literally anything.

Someone in the Clouds is one of those films that you put on when you have a large group of people over and don’t pay any attention to besides maybe an occasional glance, but even with this extreme uninterest, you will still get the story, as it requires almost no concentration from your part. It’s very ironic to me how a film about fortunetelling couldn’t foresee its inevitable failure.


Directors: Gary Tseng, Mitch Lin
Cast: Steven Hao, Yao Yi Ti, Jordan Chan, Phoebe Huang, Jian Man Shu, Austin Lin
Languages: Mandarin and Taiwanese with English subtitles

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