Review: It's Shakespeare Reimagined in an LGBTQ-Friendly 'As We Like It'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday October 14, 2021

'As We Like It'
'As We Like It'  (Source:Frameline45)

Hung-i Chen and Muni Wei and an all-female cast reimagine Shakespeare's "As You Like It" into a high-energy romp set a few decades from now.

"As We Like It" takes place in an Internet-free zone called Ximenting, a city full of dazzling dance-floor colors and romantic possibilities. Celia (Camille Chalons), a princess (or the daughter of a corporate head honcho, at any rate) is looking for her prince; meantime, Rosalind (Hsueh-Fu Kuo) wants nothing to do with romance. She has other things on her mind - namely finding her missing father, The Duke, who is about to be declared dead and his company, Duke Enterprises, exploited in all sorts of evil ways.

Thinking that Orlando (Aggie Hsieh) will know where to find The Duke, Rosalind disguises herself as Roosevelt, and... well, if you've read Shakespeare, you know the rest. Or maybe you don't, because this brisk romp keeps all the pieces in the air in surprising and fantastical ways that involve a psychic named Angel (Esther Huang), a young rapper named Dope (Helena Hsu), and Rosalind's ambitious brother, Oliver (Joelle Lu), whose has his own ideas as to what to do with Duke Enterprises.

Animated details crowd the screen and action sequences come complete with video game graphics. It's almost enough to smooth over the film's rough narrative structure, which sometimes veers into odd storytelling choices, including mystic institutions - a bookstore, a cult - that are evidently run by children. As it happens, this film is as much about youth as it is love, and the course of neither is bound to run true but rather to proceed in (sometimes confusing) leaps and bounds.

Still, the film possesses a power to intoxicate, and it's overtly LGBTQ-friendly style is a large part of its romantic charm.

"As We Like It" is screening at Seattle Queer Film Festival.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.