Five Blind Dates – Film Review

Time is ticking away for Chinese-Australian traditional tea shop owner Lia (Shuang Hu) who is on the hunt to find her soulmate to save the fate of her business.

Stuck between her failing business passed down by her beloved grandma, and a prophecy to find her one true love in her next five dates, Lia reluctantly accepts dates set up by her family members. Throughout her journey, Lia hides her struggles, prepares for her younger sister’s wedding, and gets overwhelmed by more and more arising issues. Who is her one true love? Will she be able to overcome these hurdles and save her beloved tea shop?

Five Blind Dates, with its perfectly timed release around both Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day, is a romantic comedy co-created and co-written by actor and influencer Shuang Hu and actor and comedian Nathan Ramos-Park, and is directed by Shawn Seet. The film is filled with laughter, tears, and hope as you experience Lia’s journey through self-discovery and dreams. 

The thing I love the most about Five Blind Dates is how it was a fun and a stereotypical romcom, but also being very close to home. Based in Sydney and Townsville Australia, circling a Chinese Australian family; many things mentioned in the film are extremely relatable.

From the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Botanical Gardens, to even just a classic Chinese restaurant, the places in this film are very familiar. It was almost like hearing a friend’s story and their struggles (or should I say, ‘spill the tea’ – ’cause it’s a tea shop). I also thoroughly related to and enjoyed the additions of Chinese randomly slipped into day-to-day conversations and the themes of dealing with family pressure to success in work and love, while trying to keep tradition amongst a fast-changing society.

Five Blind Dates shows a clash between tradition and modern culture in a comedic form. Superstitions is a big deal in a lot of Chinese households, so it was interesting to see Lia’s fortune with her Ba-Zi which begins her quest for love. We get an insight into family conflicts as well as the traditional gender expectations being questioned. Even something as basic as the comparison of the popular and worldwide loved bubble tea or traditional brewed tea is mentioned.

Hu did a wonderful job at expressing a variety of believable emotions in Lia’s life and her connection with everyone in the show. My personal favourite relationship that Lia has in the film is with her best friend Mason (Ilai Swindells). A relationship is so close that it actually made me envious.

Five Blind Dates is cleverly crafted to smoothly align several storylines and never feels awkward nor out of place. Every single date that Lia went on is memorable and is enjoyable to follow along. Her relationship with her family is presented in a great way to not glorify a happy family, and the cracks and clashes make you emphasize with every member of her family, not simply the main character which a lot of other films often highlight.

It’s genuinely so great to see more Asian content in movies and TV shows these days. Representation is important and it’s brought me a lot of joy knowing that there’s specific Asian Australian content out there that I can enjoy, understand, and can completely relate to. Five Blind Dates is a close-to-home fun watch that was quickly over before I knew it.

Five Blind Dates is Prime Video’s first ever Australian Amazon Original Film, is produced by Amazon Studios and Goalpost Pictures Australia, and is available for streaming now.

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