Berkreviews Fast & Feel Love (2022) at Fantasia Fest 2022

Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit has written and directed that which truly emphasizes the importance of the people in our lives. Kao (Nat Kitcharit) wants to pursue the thing he is good at and loves doing: competitive cup stacking. Jay (Urassaya Sperbund) encourages Kao, and they develop a relationship where Jay takes care of everything so Kao can focus on his skill to become the very best. This relationship is clearly problematic, as Jay has given so much of herself to Kao that now she’s not sure how to get what she wants. 

Fortunately, Thamrongrattanarit’s story doesn’t ignore these details. Jay decides that she needs a change, leaving Kao to have to figure out how to be an adult all by himself. Well…he struggles a bit, so he doesn’t do it all by himself. That’s actually one of the things that I really love about this movie: it isn’t a story where the male protagonist gets to continue being terrible while still winning. He also doesn’t have to be alone, as the real world if full of collaborative efforts. The movie is aware of this, and brings the story to a head in varying ways that are all quite satisfying. 

What makes this film unique is the love of action movies wrapped into the sports drama that it is also being. There are some incredible action sequences of Kao stacking cups that look phenomenal. The varying antagonistic elements in the film often come from surprising places and characters. His main rival is so much younger than Kao, but their back and forths are quite entertaining. One sequence references another movie with a character who has a certain set of skills – and there are obvious Fast and Furious references throughout that certainly brought a smile to my face. 

I loved both Kao and Jay. The film is an emotional rollercoaster, and while I won’t spoil anything here, I found the ending to be quite powerful. In 2016, I was finishing my master’s degree and I started while working a full-time teaching job. That first year of Berkreviews, I watched 7 movies a week all year long and wrote a review for everyone. My wife was incredibly supportive, and there’s no way I could have done any of the things I’ve done over the last six years if not for her. Thus, I really connected with both Kao and Jay, and all of the other characters who allow Kao to pursue his dream. Yet, I also see how problematic Kao’s character is, and that he is at the extreme of this type of situation. Finding balance in one’s life and relationships is essential, and I think the film captures that in a way that is authentic while still feeling like a movie.

Fast & Feel Love was just a great experience in every element a movie can offer: compelling characters, interesting conflicts, strong visuals, and tons of heart. Even the film’s choice to open with students telling their guidance counselor their dreams only to be told they aren’t realistic resonated so much for this high school film teacher that I was hooked from the start. If you get a chance to see the film, I strongly recommend you take it, as I give it the Must See rating.

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