This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movies we cover wouldn’t exist. We stand with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
We’re ready to vicariously travel to Taiwan for summer adventures with Paramount+’s Love in Taipei, which recently released its trailer. Though summer is nearing its end, Ever Wong’s (Ashley Liao) journey is just beginning. Based on the novel Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen, we couldn’t help but notice a couple things as we prepare for the August 10 release.
The film’s title doesn’t match the book’s
As previously mentioned, Love in Taipei is the film adaptation of the young adult novel Loveboat, Taipei. Obviously those are two different titles, which isn’t unheard of for book-to-movie adaptations, but it does take away a recognition factor for readers. While we don’t know for sure why the book’s name didn’t stick, we can think of a few reasons for the name change.
While the target audience is definitely different, changing the name from Loveboat, Taipei to Love in Taipei avoids confusion or association with the 1976 TV series The Love Boat. In addition, Love in Taipei does sound simpler and less confusing than Loveboat, Taipei, because if the movie is anything close to the book, not a single boat has significance to the story.
“Loveboat” is a term for a government-backed summer program that typically brings diasporic Chinese teenagers to Taiwan for a cultural immersion experience. However, loveboat isn’t your typical summer camp or summer school. There’s a huge social aspect. Participants are known to ignore curfew to enjoy the nightlife Taiwan has to offer. And as expected with any mass of teenagers living on their own — especially across the globe — there’s no shortage of flings, hookups, and relationships.
Rick’s relationship status
Speaking of relationships, Sophie Ha (Chelsea Zhang) explicitly states near the start of the trailer that Rick Woo (Ross Butler) is single. No spoilers here, but this is particularly notable for Loveboat, Taipei readers, because in the novel, Rick is very much not single. Maybe Sophie was lying? But if Rick’s single in the film, we may be missing a deep connection between Rick and Ever developed in the book because of their relationships. We don’t want to lose that! We’ll just have to wait and see.
Ever’s dance moves
There are a few moments in the trailer where Ever is seen dancing: on the rooftop, in the club, on a random bridge/overpass. This seems to carry over Ever’s identity and background as a dancer from the book. Again, if the novel is any indication of how the movie will go — we’ve been let down by adaptations before — dance plays a huge role in Ever’s life and affects her trip and experiences in Taiwan.
Xavier and Ever’s meet cute
The Love in Taipei trailer makes it pretty clear there’s a love triangle in play. (What’s a good coming-of-age rom-com without a classic trope?) Rick and Ever first meet with an awkward introduction from Sophie while Xavier Yeh (Nico Haraga) and Ever have their own memorable moment of meeting. They first see each other while Xavier is running down a hallway, but they don’t formally meet until Xavier catches Ever dancing on the roof. He calls out to her while sitting on the ledge of another part of the roof, embarrassing Ever, who was literally dancing like no one’s watching. Upon learning Ever’s name, he seems to have developed a nickname for her: Forever Ever. Book Xavier never came up with that or any other nickname for Ever, but it’s cute and definitely matches his character.
We also noticed one other thing when Xavier’s on the rooftop. He has an open book. To the ordinary viewer, this is completely normal. No spoilers of course, but to those of us who are familiar with the book, we can’t help but wonder why he has a book and what kind of book it is. Is it a novel or any sort of reading material? Perhaps a sketchbook? Guess we’ll have to wait to find out when Love in Taipei is released on Paramount+ on August 10!