Dear Ex (Movie)

Title — Dear Ex
Available on — Netflix
Production Country — Taiwan
Release Date — 2018
A teen navigates a bitter feud between his willful mom and a free-spirited man, who's the lover and insurance beneficiary of his recently deceased dad.

🪶 Story & Synopsis

Dear Ex Movie Synopsis:

In the Taiwanese movie “Dear Ex,” the story unfolds around a gay man who is mourning the loss of his partner. The film delves into the intricate relationships he forms with his deceased lover’s vengeful ex-wife and rebellious teenage son. As they navigate their shared trauma, the characters grapple with feelings of resentment, anger, and confusion, showcasing the complexities of human emotions in the face of loss and betrayal.

Despite its heavy subject matter, “Dear Ex” stands out as a unique blend of melancholy and quirky humor, offering a fresh take on themes of grief and acceptance. The characters, flawed yet layered, embark on nuanced emotional journeys that challenge traditional narratives of mourning and healing.

The movie centers on a teenager, Chengxi, who finds himself entangled in a bitter conflict between his mother, Sanlian, and a free-spirited man named Jay. Jay, both the lover and insurance beneficiary of Chengxi’s late father, becomes a central figure in their lives, sparking a series of events that test the boundaries of love, forgiveness, and redemption.

🧑 Cast & Crew

Roy Chiu, Hsieh Ying-xuan, Joseph Huang, Spark Chen

Actor Role
Roy Chiu Jay
Hsieh Ying-xuan Liu San-lian
Spark Chen Song Zheng-yuan
Joseph Huang Song Cheng-xi
Wanfang Consultant
Allen Kao Jay’s mother
Yang Li-yin San-lian’s sister
Liang Cheng-chun Stage manager
Wu Ting-chien Director

💬 Reviews and feedback

Have you ever had to choose between your mother and the lover of your late father? Sounds like a plot twist even Shakespeare would envy, right? Well, that’s exactly what “Dear Ex” serves on a silver screen platter. This Taiwanese drama film directed by Mag Hsu and Hsu Chih-yen is not your typical love story – it’s a rollercoaster of emotions, family dynamics, and societal acceptance.

The plot revolves around a teenager named Chengxi caught in the crossfire of a bitter feud between his mother and Jay, the free-spirited man who happens to be both the lover and insurance beneficiary of his deceased father. As the narrative unfolds, we witness the complexities of love, loss, and loyalty.

One of the standout aspects of “Dear Ex” is its portrayal of a changing society where LGBTQ+ love is gradually gaining acceptance. The movie delicately navigates through themes of love and acceptance in a world that is still learning to embrace diversity.

  • Acting and Characters: The performances by Roy Chiu, Hsieh Ying-xuan, Spark Chen, and Joseph Huang are nothing short of captivating. Each actor brings depth and authenticity to their respective roles, making the characters feel relatable and human.
  • Direction: Mag Hsu and Hsu Chih-yen’s direction shines in capturing the raw emotions that drive the narrative forward. The way they handle sensitive subjects with grace and sensitivity is commendable.
  • Cinematography: The visuals in “Dear Ex” are strikingly beautiful, adding another layer of depth to the storytelling. From intimate moments to poignant scenes, every frame is carefully crafted to evoke emotions.

“Dear Ex” isn’t just a movie; it’s an experience that stays with you long after the credits roll. It’s a poignant reminder that love comes in many forms, sometimes wrapped in unexpected packages. While some may find certain aspects sanitized or lacking passion, it’s these subtleties that make the film all the more real.

Binge-Watching Tip: Keep tissues handy because this emotional rollercoaster might just have you reaching for them more than once!

So, dear reader, if you’re looking for a film that tugs at your heartstrings and challenges your perception of love and family dynamics, “Dear Ex” is a must-watch. It’s a beautifully crafted piece of cinema that resonates on multiple levels.

Ratings: 8/10

In conclusion, “Dear Ex” isn’t just about romance; it’s about resilience, understanding, and above all, love in its purest form. So grab some popcorn, settle in for an emotional ride, and let this Taiwanese gem work its magic on you!

Pros Cons
Remarkably affecting Romance is sanitized
Rewarding film Lacks passion in courtship scenes
Isn’t afraid to feel its feelings Gay kiss is censored
Well-fleshed out characters More focused on telling her story than his
Heartbreaking and heartwarming Shy about showing passion


  • Dear Ex - Wikipedia

    Dear Ex(Chinese: 誰先愛上他的; lit. ‘Who Fell in Love with Him First?’) is a 2018 Taiwanese drama film directed by Mag Hsu and Hsu Chih-yen, from a screenplay by Lu Shih-yuan and Mag Hsu. It stars Roy Chiu, Hsieh Ying-xuan, Spark Chen, and Joseph Huang. It follows a teenager becoming trapped in the middle of a bitter feud between his willful mother and a free-spirited man, who is both the lover and insurance beneficiary of his recently deceased father.

  • Dear Ex | Official Trailer [HD] Netflix - YouTube

  • Dear Ex | Rotten Tomatoes

    Dear ExWhere to WatchDear Ex

    Watch Dear Ex with a subscription on Netflix.

    Critics ReviewsAudience ReviewsMy RatingCast & Crew

    Mag HsuDirectorChih-Yen HsuDirectorRoy ChiujayYing-Xuan HsiehLiu SanlianSpark ChenSong ZhengyuanJoseph HuangSong Chengxi

⚠️ Explanation (Spoiler)

Dear Ex is a Taiwanese movie that delves into the complexities of grief, trauma, and loss through the lives of three central characters – Jay, San-lian, and Cheng-xi, who are all grappling with the recent death of their loved one, Zheng-yuan. The story is narrated by Cheng-xi, a moody teenager, who initially harbors resentment towards Jay, Zheng-yuan’s secret lover, but gradually develops a better understanding of him.

The film strikes a unique balance between tragedy and levity, managing to be poignant and sentimental without becoming overly melodramatic. Despite the heavy subject matter, Dear Ex maintains a quirky dramedy tone, never dwelling too long on the negativity. The characters, though deeply affected by Zheng-yuan’s death, don’t succumb to despair but rather navigate through their grief in their own ways.

While the movie explores themes of death, divorce, and repressed sexuality, it doesn’t overwhelm the audience with sadness. Instead, it offers a more nuanced portrayal of how life continues even in the face of loss. The relationship between Jay and Zheng-yuan, though not depicted in overly romantic scenes, is characterized by tenderness and affection, albeit with a few dramatic and tragic moments.

Despite some shortcomings, like certain characters being less sympathetic and the romance feeling somewhat sanitized, the film shines through its stellar acting performances and solid production values. The ending of Dear Ex is noted for its optimism, offering a ray of hope after the storm of emotions portrayed throughout the movie.

In essence, Dear Ex presents a unique and well-rounded narrative that explores grief in a refreshing light, with a focus on the resilience of its characters in the face of tragedy. Though it may not be a favorite for everyone, the movie’s ability to balance heavy themes with moments of lightness and hope makes it a compelling watch.

👪 Parents Guide & Age Rating


Age Rating:

Dear Ex movie is recommended for viewers aged 16 and above.

Parental Guide:

Sex, Romance & Nudity: The movie includes scenes where two men kiss, a woman attempts to unzip her husband’s pants, and a suggestion is made for a wife to act “sluttier.” The central theme involves a gay man marrying to appear “normal.”

Violence & Scariness: There are scenes where loan sharks beat up a man, a badly broken leg is shown, a teen threatens to jump off a balcony, and a man is covered in blood after a death.

Language: The movie contains strong language including “f–k,” “s–t,” “d–k,” “fag,” and “bastard.”

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking: Adults are depicted smoking cigarettes and getting drunk.

Positive Messages: Themes include being true to oneself, loyalty, love, and not losing sleep over material things.

Positive Role Models: Characters include a struggling actor, a noisy and volatile mother, and an angsty teen dealing with difficult circumstances.

📺 Streaming and where to watch

streaming service extra information
Netflix Dear Ex is available to stream on Netflix with a basic subscription including Ads.

❝ Quotes and Cult

  • A teenage boy and his mother are further driven apart when they find out that his father's life insurance policy is to be received by his lover.
  • Dear Ex (Chinese: 誰先愛上他的; lit. 'Who Fell in Love with Him First?') is a 2018 Taiwanese drama film directed by Mag Hsu and Hsu Chih-yen, from a screenplay by Lu Shih-yuan and Mag Hsu.
  • Recently available on Netflix, 'Dear Ex' (2018) tells a story of a Taiwanese teenage boy who drifts apart from his mother after his father's death.
  • One of Taiwan's best films of 2018, 'Dear Ex' offers an emotionally complex look at a modern family.
  • Released worldwide earlier this month on Netflix, Dear Ex centers around a 13 year-old boy named Song Chengxi.
  • The most obvious 'him' this title refers to is Chengxi's father—many of Dear Ex's flashbacks explore Sanlian and Ah Jie's respective relationships with him, and how each relationship either flourished or withered.
  • At the same time, 'him' could also refer to Chengxi.
  • Arguably, the notion of familial love is even more important than romantic love in Dear Ex, which is why I'd classify it as a family drama and not a romance.

🤖Dear Ex Reddit Talks

Dear Ex, a 2018 Taiwanese drama film, has garnered mixed reactions on social media, with some praising its poignant and thought-provoking themes, while others criticizing its sanitized portrayal of romance.

Positive Reviews:

  • The film’s exploration of grief, love, and family dynamics is highly praised.
  • The performances of the cast, particularly Roy Chiu, Hsieh Ying-xuan, Spark Chen, and Joseph Huang, are commended for their emotional depth and authenticity.
  • The film’s ability to elicit strong emotions and provoke introspection is seen as a testament to its impact.

Negative Reviews:

  • The film’s depiction of the romance between Jay and Zheng-yuan is criticized for being too tame and lacking in passion.
  • The censorship of the only gay kiss in the film is seen as a missed opportunity for authentic representation.
  • The film’s focus on the son’s perspective is seen as overshadowing the story of the male lover.

Other Observations:

  • The film has been praised for its relatable scenes and its exploration of the complexities of family relationships.
  • The film’s black comedy elements have been noted, adding a unique layer to the drama.
  • The film’s themes of love, loss, and forgiveness have resonated with many viewers.

Overall, Dear Ex has sparked discussions about the portrayal of LGBTQ+ relationships in cinema, the complexities of grief and family dynamics, and the power of storytelling to evoke strong emotions.

Top discussions

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dear Ex a good movie?

Dear Ex is considered a remarkably affecting and cogent movie. Despite being painful to watch at times, it is a rewarding film that delves deep into emotions and explores their meaning.

What is the plot of Dear Ex?

Dear Ex is a Taiwanese drama film that follows the story of a teenager caught in the middle of a bitter feud between his mother and a free-spirited man who is the lover and insurance beneficiary of his deceased father.

Is Dear Ex a romance?

Dear Ex focuses on the relationship dynamics between the characters, particularly Jay and Zheng-yuan, portraying a tender bond. However, the movie is criticized for sanitizing the romance by censoring the only gay kiss and lacking passion in courtship scenes.

Where was Dear Ex filmed?

Dear Ex was filmed in the unassuming streets of Taipei in Taiwan, adorned with folk temples and vendors, providing a unique backdrop for the central tension depicted in the movie.

What is the significance of the title “Who Fell in Love with Him First?” in Dear Ex?

“Who Fell in Love with Him First?” is the literal translation of the Chinese title of Dear Ex. This title alludes to the exploration of love and relationships showcased in the film, focusing on the complexities and dynamics of falling in love.

Who are the main cast members of Dear Ex?

The main cast of Dear Ex includes Roy Chiu as Jay, Hsieh Ying-xuan as Liu Sanlian, Spark Chen as Song Zhengyuan, and Joseph Huang as Song Chengxi, all delivering compelling performances in this poignant drama film.

🔀 Recommended Movie and TV Show

List of similar movies to Dear Ex:

  1. Dear Tenant: A Taiwanese drama film that delves into complex family relationships.
  2. Your Name Engraved Herein: A heartfelt LGBTQ+ romance set in 1980s Taiwan.
  3. Girlfriend Boyfriend: A coming-of-age drama exploring love and friendship in Taiwan.
  4. Leather (2013): A movie that explores unconventional relationships and identities.
  5. Breaking Fast (2020): A romantic comedy about love and cultural differences.
  6. Eat with Me (2014): A heartwarming story of family and food.
  7. An Unusual Affair (2002): A tale of forbidden love and societal expectations.

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