Just 1 Day (London East Asia Film Festival 2021) – Movie Review

Sweet and Funny, Sad and Wonderful – All of it Wrapped into Just 1 Day

Set in Hong Kong, a young woman named Angelfish finds dating less than fulfilling. Her wish is to see a sunrise with someone who truly loves her. But her current boyfriend, in a long-distance relationship with someone else, can’t manage it.

She attends an alumni event, coming into contact with old friends, teachers and in particular her geeky mate from elementary school. Mosaic is long-term smitten but afraid to speak, stumbling over himself at seeing her again. They reminisce, he gives her a ride in the rain and there it ends.

Sometime later he reappears at the bank where she works with a medical letter showing a terminal ALS diagnosis. His wish is for her to be his girlfriend for just one day. And what a day it is.

One of the first lines of the film is ‘Beautiful things are always fleeting…’ Determined to make a lifetime of memories, he’s aiming to have something lovely to think about as his body deteriorates. From sunrise to sunrise, he’s planned every surprise-filled moment. How could that not change your life?

Angelfish finally sees a sunrise.

Written and directed by well-known screenwriter Erica Li, this is her first writer/director credit for a full-length feature and she has not missed a moment. With a number of writing credits for action movies in Hong Kong, she’s known for IP Man: Final Fight (Netflix) and Shock Wave 2 (Prime), among others. But Just 1 Day couldn’t be more different from the genre for which she’s known.

Her daughter, Faith, appeared at the London East Asia Film Festival to introduce the film on her mother’s behalf. She describes it as a love letter to Hong Kong in a time when many friends are taking their leave. Li particularly wanted to focus on the beautiful little things of the city and intentionally incorporated artisan works. Mosaic is an artist and his mate a miniaturist. Together, they capture buildings and memories of bygone days, focusing on venues about to be demolished and forgotten.

Charlene Choi, as Angelfish, is a Canadian-born singer who’s been in the Hong Kong industry since 2000. A busy lady, she has nearly 70 acting credits including 2 new movies opening in 2022. She’s also starred in The Assassin’s Blade (Prime), The Sorcerer and the White Snake (Prime), featuring Jet Li and Robin-B-Hood (Prime), alongside Jackie Chan and directed by Benny Chan, featured director of the London East Asia Film Festival’s opening film, Raging Fire.

Wong Cho-Lam plays Mosaic, the geeky artist who’s been mesmerized by Angelfish since childhood. He’s known for a host of comedy movies, dramas and variety shows including musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change where he performed the trifecta as actor, writer and director.

For fans of sad romance flicks, this gem is like finding those perfect retro shoes in a thrift store – both surprising and delightful. The set-up warns it’s a tissue-fest but it’s full of funny, heart warming moments and worth every beautiful, fleeting misty-moment. It’s the sweet bits that stay with you.


The 2021 London East Asia Film Festival runs from Oct 21-31. For information on more fantastic movies from across East Asia, see the LEAFF programme here. Click here to see more movies reviewed as part of this festival.

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  • Verdict - 10/10

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