‘Your Name Engraved Herein’ Review: When Love Is All You Can See


The love story in the touching, simple Taiwanese drama “Your Name Engraved In” takes place at a Catholic school for boys. It is 1987, shortly after nearly four decades of martial law came to an end but before social repression eased.

While the soft spoken Jia-Han (Edward Chen) is hugely popular among his classmates, they are unsure what to do with the exciting new student Birdy (Jing-Hua Tseng). But the two immediately bond, and their camaraderie as students protects their growing intimacy. During the train journeys, the heads rest on the shoulders, the bodies cling to each other on the back of a scooter.

But accomplishment is a risk in an environment where gay students are beaten and bullied. When school starts accepting women, Birdy takes in an open girl and Jia-Han tries to hide his broken heart.

Director Patrick Liu has an eye for the way physical desire manifests itself: the gestures of affection, the demeanor of people who pretend not to acknowledge one another. He doesn’t speed up the romance between the boys, and his patience allows the actors to develop believable chemistry. Though the film could be based on the attraction of pretty faces and stolen trips to Taipei, Liu adds texture to her pretty desires.

However, lingering too long in the hot air that lingers after deep sighs can feel suffocating. And “Your Name Engraved In” is so caught up in the pull between Jia-Han and Birdy that the details of the boys’ school, their families, and the political circumstances surrounding them are blurred. Liu focuses on inducing the impotent myopia of first love that obscures the world beyond Jia-Han and Birdy.

Your name engraved here
Not rated. In Mandarin, English and Min Nan with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 58 minutes. Watch on Netflix.

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