Taiwanese American director Arvin Chen returns to the silver screen almost 10 years after Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? with his 2022 Taipei Film Festival opening night film. Xiao-hong (played by heartthrob Kai Ko) is timid to a fault, thanks largely to his domineering mother. After her attempts to set him up with a love interest end in disaster, he inadvertently meets an older woman (singer-actress Vivian Hsu) who captures his attention in a most unexpected place. Chen brilliantly de-glamorizes his cast, transforming them into quotidian characters we can all root for, without belittling their personal battles. Their gradual metamorphoses are painted with a vibrant cinematic palette and punctuated with moments of magical realism. Deftly exploring real-life social phenomena, Chen allows comedy and a sublime dramatic arc to evolve organically between the characters. Mama Boy is an endearing, insightful tale about a young man finally coming of age.

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