For years now, I have had the tendency to gravitate towards short stories and short movies. Unlike novels and feature films, short stories and movies doesn’t have the luxury of time and length to established setting and backgrounds. But there’s beauty in that, of trying to make the most in such limited space – like relishing every moment in a casual affair. And with three interwoven stories about affection, devotion, and passion, A Gift felt like three summer flings that got me grinning like a fool.
In “Twilight”, Beam (Nine Naphat) experienced a meet cute with Pang (Violette Wautier) during a rehearsal for scholarship awarding. In “Still on My Mind”, Fah (Mew Nittha) quit her job to take care of her father after her mother passed away. She then enlisted Aey (Sunny Suwanmethanont), her late mom’s piano tuner, to help her as she learn to play her parent’s favorite song. In “New Year”, Llong (Ter Chantavit) quit his rock band and became a financial analyst, only to stumble into his workmates’ amateur band led by Kim (Noona Neungthida).
As expected, A Gift was a series of sweet romantic comedy with some tearjerker here and there. But I was awed by how nuanced and varied the stories were. More than just meet-cute turned romance, A Gift was a reminder about hope and dedication. That some love, no matter how small and insignificant it seems, are worth fighting for. Because at the end of the day, what matters is the smile we put on the faces of those around us.
Neatly arranged, A Gift opened through Twilight. Like starters in a three-course meal, it’s a light appetizer to awaken our taste buds. Despite being the weakest – and cheesiest – out of the three, Twilight was an easy to digest delight. The kind that required no thinking and was pure enjoyment. Nine was, quite frankly, dreamy as Beam. He knows he’s attractive and he knows how to charmed people, but Violette’s Pang was witty and know how to fend him off. Their push and pull was lovable, making it hard not to root for them. Just like Beam and Pang’s amusing banter, Twilight felt like flirting with a summer fling for fun and games.
Swiftly, A Gift then moved to Still on My Mind. Though it was obviously set to be a tearjerker, it still worked wonderfully. Rather than a story about Fah and Aey’s budding romance, it was more about Fah’s devotion as a daughter to her father and her father’s unyielding love to his wife. The romance was just a side dish to balance the taste. Predictable at times, but still heartfelt and relatable. After all, it’s a problem that could befall any family – which of the children would take care of the remaining parent after the spouse pass away? Taking care of your aging parent requires determination and piety, even more so when said parent is suffering from an illness. Mew Nittha captured Fah’s struggle and emotional turmoil, coaxing me to fall for her with every step of her journey. But the true star was her father and her mother (whose names unfortunately wasn’t available despite me scouring the net – perhaps I should start learning Thai’s alphabet). Without much effort, they conveyed their zeal for each other in such adoring manner. My favorite out of the three, it lingered even after the story changed – like a crush that developed into an infatuation.
New Year was the last, and what a savory dessert it was. An uplifting tale about fighting for your dream and how, sometimes, you do need to fall first before you rediscover your passion. Chantavit was as amiable as ever, sympathetic and even cute at times – though unfortunately he made Noona pales in comparison. Well, Noona wasn’t bad, it was just New Year was filled with so many scene stealer that Noona got outshined. Even their manager (whom, once again, I failed to name) left stronger impression. But it was a feel good story about pursuing something you know worth fighting for and sharing happiness with everyone around you. Just like sharing an evening talk with someone who just clicked, it was an excellent conclusion for A Gift. Especially combined with the epilogue.
Revolving around the late King’s composition – aptly used as the title for each short story, A Gift told three heartwarming tales about all sorts of love. Romance, devotion, familial, platonic, and passion – it’s all there. It appropriately incorporated music, the late King’s gift for the nation, as an important element in each story. And I especially adore how seamlessly it tied the three stories together, not one thing felt out of place. Funny, endearing, tearjerking, and even creepy at times, it was a wonderful present to start the new year.
Directors: Chayanop Boonprakob, Nithiwat Tharatorn, Jira Maligool. Writers: Chayanop Boonprakob, Jira Maligool, Nithiwat Tharatorn, Kriangkrai Vachiratamporn. Released on: 11 January 2017 (Indonesia). Casts: Nine Naphat, Violette Wautier, Mew Nittha, Sunny Suwanmethanont, Ter Chantavit, Noona Neungthida.