Film pick: The Journey (PG)

This was a major surprise hit in Malaysia, surpassing the Aaron Aziz actioner KL Gangster (2011) to become the highest-grossing local film of all time. Bee (Joanne Yew, above) returns home from London to Malaysia's Cameron Highlands to tell her conservative father Chuan (Frankie Lee Sai Peng) that she is getting married to her Caucasian boyfriend Benji (Ben Andrew Pfeiffer). Chuan reluctantly agrees, but only if Benji first goes on a road trip with him around the country to hand-deliver the wedding invitations.

If a heart-warming dramedy is what you are looking for, then yes, this checks off all the feel-good markers. Director Chiu Keng Guan, who also made the equally unpretentious movies Woohoo! (2010) and Good Day (2012), delivers his most pleasant work yet, even if some of it veers dangerously towards melodrama.

The best segments are the ones shared between Chuan and his future son-in-law Benji, who are often at odds over cultural differences.

Set against the backdrop of some truly stunning views of Cameron Highlands, Penang and the Klang Valley, this is one of the most charming Malaysian films to hit cinemas in a while.


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