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Adoring: Hug your pets and never let go

Samseng Zhabor
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Something happened yesterday to make stress and anxiety levels hit the roof so I was in need of something easy and sweet to watch — comfort food for the eyes. So it was absolutely perfect that I stumbled upon this film: Adoring 《宠爱》.
Adoring is a 2020 ensemble rom-com film that did very well at the Chinese box office. Think along the lines of Love, Actually, but with animals. We have six gently intertwining stories:
  • Zhao Le (William Chan) has just married Fang Xin (Zhong Chuxi). They’d love nothing better than to get hot and steamy during this honeymoon period, only they keep getting interrupted by Hao Qi, Fang Xin’s over-protective, elderly rottweiler.
  • An Ying (Kan Qingzi) is a quiet illustrator with mysophobia. She also has a secret crush on her neighbour, Luo Hua (Tan Jianci). Both these facts come into conflict when they rescue a kitten together.
  • With the high school exams looming, Jiang Nan (Zhang Zifeng) is determined to train her golden retriever, Xiao Zha, to become a guide dog for her best friend Chen Leyun (Leo Wu), who lost his sight half a year ago.
  • Gao Ming (Yu Hewei) lives alone with a ginger cat, Hulu/Angela, while his ex-wife and daughter Gao Mengmeng (Li Landi) live in the US. He’s not a very expressive father, but is pushed to open up to his daughter when she suggests taking the cat with her to the US.
  • Li Xiang (Wallace Chung) is a wealthy stockbroker who seems like the perfect boyfriend, but his girlfriend Qu Feifei (Yang Zishan) has been getting suspicious about why he’s never invited her over to his place. She pays a surprise visit only to discover that it’s because he is the doting pet-father of a pig named Xiao Dingdang (which is also the old Chinese name for Doraemon).
  • Ah De (Guo Qilin) is a delivery worker who’s constantly lost in a sprawling neighbourhood — until he gets help from Barton, a stray dog who really knows his way around, but has trouble trusting humans.
What would you do if your boyfriend loved a pig that much? I think it's pretty cute, really.
What would you do if your boyfriend loved a pig that much? I think it's pretty cute, really.
It’s a great cast line-up with familiar faces from other shows I’ve watched and loved: Wallace Chung was the male lead in The Sword and the Brocade, which I was recently obsessed with, Li Landi was the female lead in My Huckleberry Friends, one of my favourite Chinese high-school dramas, Leo Wu was the adorable Fei Liu in Nirvana in Fire, the best Chinese drama of all time, and Guo Qilin was Fan Sizhe in Joy of Life, a drama whose second season I’m eagerly anticipating.
None of the stories are complicated, and at the core they’re all about love. There’s care between friends, crushes blossoming into romance, connection between parent and child, and the love that one extends to the family of one’s partner, even if that family is a pig or a rottweiler who disapproves of sex. And, most beautiful yet heart-wrenching of all, the love that animals have for their humans — an unwavering devotion that will last forever. The moments that made me cry in this film had to do with this connection between animal and human.
All the animals in this film — most of whom are played by Hollywood pet actors, including the ginger cat that was also in Captain Marvel — are incredibly (to the point of unrealistically) intelligent, but you’ll absolutely forgive this because it makes the show even more fun.
And, let’s face it, we all anthropomorphise the heck out of our pets.
《宠爱》Adoring Official Trailer
《宠爱》Adoring Official Trailer
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Kirsten, the Samseng Zhabor
Kirsten, the Samseng Zhabor @kixes

A random, whimsical newsletter on dramas, cats, and life. Written by a journalist in need of a break from the news.

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