Departure is a Taiwanese short gay movie about two exes sharing a meal after their break-up. The protagonist meets his old boyfriend at a restaurant, where they chat and eat dinner. As past feelings and fond memories resurface, the main character tries to reconnect with his former lover.
Although the sad love story may not appeal to some BL fans, Departure is a well-written short film. It uses a relatable plot, clever symbolism, and subtle emotions to depict the heartbreak after a relationship ends. This thoughtful movie explores longing, loneliness, and lovelessness meaningfully.
Departure Movie Summary
Around 16 minutes
Sad and emotional
Yes, Departure has gay characters.
Tien is a single gay man eagerly waiting for his ex Fan to arrive at the restaurant. The two boyfriends broke up recently and haven't seen each other for a month. However, Fan is an actor who needs to travel abroad for work. He left his passport in Tien's belongings. Fan and Tien meet up for dinner to hand over the travel documents.
Fan finally arrives at the restaurant, even though he's late because of his work schedule. Nonetheless, Tien is delighted to see his ex again. The two former boyfriends chat casually, catching up on their lives since they last met. Their conversation also turns to old memories and reminiscing about the past. As the night progresses, it becomes clear that Tien still has lingering feelings for Fan.
Departure Movie Trailer
Departure Movie Cast
Ching Yang (楊棟清)
Tien is a single gay man whose boyfriend Fah broke up with him recently. A month later, they reunite at a restaurant for a casual dinner. Tien seems to still have lingering feelings for Fah.
Chang Yang (張洋)
Fah is Tien's ex-boyfriend after they broke up a month ago. Fah is an actor who must travel abroad for work, but his passport was left in Tien's house. The two exes meet for dinner to exchange the documents.
- The director Eddie Chen produced another short gay movie in 2021 called The Morning After.
Departure Movie Review
Movie Review Score: 7.6
Departure is a sad gay movie that examines the aftermath of a break-up. However, the plot is low-key and down-to-earth, expressing subtle emotions without melodrama or theatrics. It uses clever symbolism to convey meaningful themes about longing, heartbreak, and nostalgia. The deceptively simple story conceals thoughtful messages that make you reflect on relationships. Departure is a well-constructed short film with layers of depth, relatable to anyone who experienced unrequited love.
This movie has similarities to Table Manner, another short film about two ex-boyfriends reuniting in a restaurant setting. If we compare them, Departure is more effective at conveying the intimate interpersonal drama between two former lovers. The storyteller establishes an authentic rapport, capturing the natural camaraderie and nervous awkwardness around your ex. We understand Tien and Fan's relationship history through their casually written dialogue. Simultaneously, we learn about their current dynamic through hidden subtext, fleeting gazes, and subdued reactions.
Other than a brief kissing scene, Departure is pretty devoid of romance. This film deconstructs your typical love story, highlighting the melancholy and wistfulness after a relationship ends. Tien is a sympathetic protagonist who faces conflicted emotions around his ex-boyfriend. On the one hand, Tien feels confused and rejected, unsure why he got dumped. On the other hand, he remains hopeful and cheerful, excited by the possibility of reconciliation. It's fascinating to see him fluctuate between the two extremes throughout the narrative.
Both leads contribute solid performances that add to the authenticity of the movie. Tien's actor (Ching Yang) gives a nuanced portrayal of his sensitive character. There's an evident vulnerability in his eyes, expressions, and mannerisms, allowing you to see subtle shifts in his feelings. He shares a comfortable and persuasive bond with his costar (Chang Yang). Their interactions are natural, with the familiarity of old acquaintances and the self-consciousness from breaking up. If you had dinner with your real-life ex, you'd probably behave just like them.
Departure suffers from its short length, unable to expand on the story richly in just sixteen minutes. Also, it isn't the best-looking film, although there are hints of artistry. Most of all, the sad ending and gloomy tone may not appeal to every BL fan. However, I resonate with the sombre vibe, evoking a tinge of sorrow without going overboard. Overall, Departure is a touching gay movie from a capable and intelligent storyteller. The poignant tale makes me contemplate the themes, analyze the metaphors, and empathize with the characters.
Departure is a sad gay movie that highlights the melancholy after breaking up with your ex-boyfriend. The story is low-key with authentic characters, meaningful themes, and compelling dynamics.
This movie is not your typical BL love story with a happy ending. It's a deconstruction of romance, highlighting the awkward transition between breaking up and moving on from a past relationship.
Both leads give solid performances and share a comfortable rapport. Tien's actor (Ching Yang) demonstrates heartfelt vulnerability with his eyes, expressions, and mannerisms.
Departure has a sad ending, offering bittersweet closure for Tien's character. There's clever symbolism with the earbuds, touching upon a metaphor introduced in the movie's beginning.
Although it isn't the best-looking film, there are signs of artistry in several moments. Most of the restaurant scenes look cramped but cozy, creating an intimate ambiance between the leads.
Departure is a low-key short movie that explores poignant messages about longing, nostalgia, and heartbreak. The clever metaphors, sincere characters, and natural acting elevate this well-written film.
Departure Movie Explained
Tien & Fah
The movie establishes the differences between the leads in the beginning. Tien arrives at their meeting early, doesn't mind his partner is late, and he's full of warm greetings. In contrast, Fah is preoccupied with work, asks for his passport immediately, and doesn't have sentimental value in their reunion. What we know about their relationship dynamic is the imbalance. The two main characters might be ex-boyfriends, but they don't feel the same way about each other. Tien cares about making a good impression, and Fah not so much.
During their conversation, we gather clues about their past. Fah and Tien had a tight relationship previously. They must have lived together for Tien to carry Fah's passport in his home. The two men also reminisced fond memories, revealing joyous times together. However, it doesn't take long for Tien to mention their break-up. He has been thinking about their relationship and doesn't understand why his partner dumped him. Fah never answers him, eager to change the topic.
As the meal progresses, we see signs of Tien treating his ex-boyfriend well. He orders Fah's favourite food and goes to extremes to get him some ice for the beer. However, his kind gestures go unappreciated. When Tien returns with the ice from the store, Fah reveals he has already thrown away the warm beer. It's a clear sign of Tien putting more effort into their relationship and Fah simply not reciprocating. Even though they used to be close before, this former couple is no longer in their glory.
Fah answers a phone call in the middle of their dinner date. The caller's identity isn't disclosed, but we can take a guess and assume it's his new boyfriend. Fah smiles when talking to this person, addresses Tien as "just a friend", and tells the recipient not to overthink. Whoever called him, it's someone Fah puts effort into impressing. This mystery caller may be the reason for the break-up. Tien seems to think so, asking about "Eddie" after his ex returns. If Fah had fallen for someone else, it'd explain why Tien got dumped.
While Fah talks on the phone, the cinematographer makes an artistic decision to film him through the window view. It's symbolic of how Tien perceives his ex-boyfriend, like an opaque image without clarity. In the next scene, Tien suddenly enters the frame without warning. Curiosity has gotten the best of him, and he stepped outside to eavesdrop on Fah's conversation. Fah is surprised to see his ex-boyfriend, and the viewers are also caught off-guard. Once again, the cinematography subtly conveys how the characters feel and react in a given moment.
Whether Fah has a new boyfriend or not, we get the impression his character has moved on from the past. While Tien seems hopeful about reconciliation, his ex-boyfriend doesn't view their relationship the same way. During their chat, Tien mentions how Fah changed his phone case after just three months. This off-handed remark shows how Fah quickly discards old belongings, not holding onto past mementos if he doesn't feel attached anymore. Likewise, Tien is simply an ex-lover to him. There's no chance of them getting back together from his perspective.
The movie's climax is a passionate kiss between Fah and Tien that happens almost inexplicably. You may notice a lighting change as they smooch. This scene likely happened in Tien's imagination, representing his repressed sexual desire. However, I can also make a case that their kiss occurred in reality. Maybe Fah feels moved by Tien's love for him and gives in a kiss. There's enough room left for interpretation, which leaves you guessing their relationship with each other.
Although Fah doesn't want to reconcile with his boyfriend, his character still loves Tien to some degree. Earlier, we see him patiently remove the toppings from the food since it's something his ex doesn't like to eat. It's a thoughtful deed you'd do for a loved one. Later, Fah initiates a warm embrace in their farewell scene. Tien doesn't want to hug him initially, but his ex insists. Fah picks up the signals that his partner feels wounded by their breakup and comforts him with a loving hug. We can tell Tien quietly appreciates the gesture.
Departure has a sad ending where Tien and Fah don't get back together. As a viewer, you may want Tien's character to be happy and reconcile with his ex-boyfriend. However, the movie makes a realistic conclusion where the characters part ways after the dinner. They share an emotional hug in their final interaction. Fah tells Tien to take care, and then he leaves him. The farewell is low-key, but it feels devastating because we know how badly Tien still loves Fah.
The last scene in Departure shows Tien disconnecting his wireless earbuds from the phone. The moment is a callback to the first scene where he struggles to get his device to work. The earbuds are clever symbolism, representing Tien's inability to connect with his ex-boyfriend. Despite his attempts to make the technology work, he can't force what is already broken. Finally, Tien gives up on attaching the earbuds to his phone. It symbolizes his character's acceptance that he can't get back together with his ex, who doesn't reciprocate his connection.
The final shot shows Tien wearing the earbuds as he gazes into the night landscape. We know the device isn't working, but Tien wears it anyway. This seemingly pointless gesture highlights that his relationship with Fah is still a part of Tien's identity. No, the earbuds don't work anymore. And yes, he has accepted that it won't connect in the future. Nonetheless, Tien still holds onto the past, keeping it close to him as he tries to move forward.