WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
If you have not seen ‘Over the Moon’ on Netflix, check out the trailer below:
Most people probably focused on Chang’e on this film and honestly, it was her that I looked forward to seeing too. Don’t get me wrong: the moon goddess did not disappoint with her ‘boss lady’ attitude, glamorous eye makeup and wardrobe, and totally rad music numbers! Yet, I found myself relating to Fei Fei the most.
I’ve never related to any fictional character on a deeper level until I saw ‘Over the Moon’. It was like going through it all over again.
In the first few minutes, I thought it was just another fairytale because she’s not the first lead character who became an orphan. As the story progressed though, I noticed that they did not set aside the characters’ grief. It didn’t fast-forward long enough to reveal a cliche love story.
To further explain, here are some of the scenes from the new Netflix animated movie depicting what it’s like when someone we love passes away. Even though it was mostly on point, there is one little detail that they missed.
Changing the Mooncake Recipe
After an entire number of how to make their special family mooncakes, Fei Fei’s Ba Ba introduces Mrs. Zhong who tries to change their traditional recipe by adding dates. Fei Fei quickly disapproves and says that she’s “probably allergic” but apparently, she wasn’t talking about the fruit. It seems that what she’s allergic to is ‘change’ for her Ma Ma’s recipe means so much more to her than just a family heirloom.
And there are memories in these mooncakes
All the moments shared with you
All the stories that you told me – mama
Make me think of you…
Magic in these memories
Forever I hold true
Mooncakes and the memories of you
– Mooncakes (Over the Moon OST)
By changing the recipe, Fei Fei and her Ba Ba might forget the original one, the one her Ma Ma taught them, their memories of baking with Ma Ma… and maybe eventually, Ma Ma herself. Fei Fei is not yet ready to let go of their memories, especially since she lost her at a very young age and there’s not much to remember.
I lost my mom when I was young, too. It has been almost half of my life and as the years go by, it gets harder and harder to remember. Needless to say, because my life went on but not hers.
Whenever I miss her, posting a photo of her on Instagram and writing the things I wanted to share with her in the caption helped me cope… until I’ve posted them all. There are no new photos, nor memories… and there will never be. I can only cling on to the same old ones tightly because no one in this entire universe can ever replace her.
Believing in Chang’e
During the Moon Festival, Fei Fei snapped at the dinner table as she claimed that the goddess is more than just a myth and then later defies gravity to prove it. The existence of Chang’e, an immortal who loved a man named Houyi beyond his lifetime, is the evidence that Fei Fei needs in order to convince everyone that love lasts forever.
Wish I had the wings to take me
To a place where no one doubts me
And I’d walk on a lunar dune
Could I find a way to get there soon?
Build a rocket to the moon
– Rocket to the Moon (Over the Moon OST)
A love that waits and never forgets – that’s the kind of love Fei Fei wished her Ba Ba still has for her Ma Ma.
Just like Fei Fei’s dad, mine also found happiness in another woman. At a very young age, I have already dismissed the idea that love lasts a lifetime simply because there’s no one in my life that justified it. I know nobody who loved each other faithfully for the rest of their lives and if I had only known the story of Chang’e earlier, then I would’ve also held on to that slightest ray of hope.
Although, even when Fei Fei built a rocket to the moon and indeed met Chang’e, she still had to accept her new life back on Earth. The harsh reality of losing someone can’t get any clearer than this – you can wish with all your heart and build a rocket to the moon for things to go back to the way they were, but they won’t.
The Chamber of Exquisite Sadness
When Fei Fei stepped inside the ‘Chamber of Exquisite Sadness’, she was welcomed by a brief image of a blissful moment with her mom which then turned into the moment when she cut her hair. She fell on the floor as her knees weakened… and that’s it. That’s it for her. She’s stuck.
It has been a long time since I lost my mom but there are certain days when… Uhm… Well, I have never found words to perfectly describe how it feels. When I saw this scene though, I broke down in tears because it showed exactly what it was like and I felt it in my bones – being teased by intangible happiness, recalling what frustration and despair made you do, and the emptiness that won’t let you get up and move on.
No need to build a rocket, for you can now be strong
The things that you’ve been searching for have been here all along
And, though it hurts to miss her, her spirit’s always near
So trust that she will always be with you
And love someone new
– Love Someone New (Over the Moon OST)
Most of the time, it feels like nobody gets it. People have told me all the wrong things like “stop crying,” “move on,” or “snap out of it” – as if those were things I can do on command. Believe me when I say that there are countless times that I wish I could, too. Unfortunately, like how the memories flashed suddenly in front of Fei Fei, I can never tell when my next emotional breakdown will happen again. Sometimes, the slightest things trigger me because it reminds me of my mom, how I don’t have a mom, or what could’ve happened if mom was here. I only realize how certain things affect me right at that very moment and I would’ve avoided it otherwise.
But no matter how deep and dark the chamber may be, there will always be someone who’s willing to break through walls for you. It’s important to know that welcoming new people in your life doesn’t mean replacing the ones who passed and forgetting them, they’re simply there to create new memories with you.
The only thing that they are wrong about is this: in real life, it doesn’t get better through a song. It can take years, even decades, but there is no such thing as ‘too long’ when grieving. Take all the time that you need to process everything – each and every consequential change in your life. We just need to take one step at a time at our own pace.
Nevertheless, ‘Over the Moon’ is really comforting to watch knowing that there is someone who understands your pain. It made me feel less alone and I’m very glad that I can always see it again or listen to its soundtrack anytime.
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