Tale of loss brings on the tears

Fann Wong is convincing as a heartbroken mother in Packages From Daddy.
Fann Wong is convincing as a heartbroken mother in Packages From Daddy.PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

Packages From Daddy portrays a family's cathartic journey after the death of the father



98 minutes/Opens tomorrow/3/5 stars

The story: The sudden loss of Yeh Wen Li (Lee Lee Zen) leaves his wife Fang Hui Ying (Fann Wong) and children Yeh Lan (Sieh Fei) and Yeh Cheng (Yu Jo Ching) reeling.

One day, younger son Lan receives a package containing a faulty chronometer sent by Yeh before his death. The boy is determined to fix the timepiece.

Singapore actress Fann was moved to tears when she read the script for Packages From Daddy, which convinced her to leave her own young son at home to fly to Taiwan for the shoot.

Taiwanese director Tsai Yinchuan's evocative script will turn on the waterworks for audiences too.

The surviving Yeh family members are mired in self-blame as they try to get on with daily life.


Hui Ying wonders if she had been too harsh on her husband, who was going through a rough patch.

Cheng wonders if a comforting word from her might have pulled her father from the brink of death.

Packages containing items handpicked by Yeh start to arrive at their doorstep, triggering the children's memories of their times with daddy.

Using the packages as a plot device is a nice touch to reveal the backstory of each family member as it reflects how someone would be reminded of deceased kin in reality.

Perhaps motherhood has given Fann an insight into portraying a mother. She adeptly conveys emotions of a heartbroken mother putting up a strong front for her children.

In an emotional scene, distress is written all over the pallid Hui Ying's face as it pains her to discipline her errant son Lan.

Precocious child actor Sieh holds his own against the adults, moving easily from playful to contemplative.

The kink in the depressing movie comes at the end in an unnecessary, contrived revelation about the cherished chronometer's origins.

The family's cathartic journey alone should have been enough to keep the tears flowing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2016, with the headline 'Tale of loss brings on the tears'. Print Edition | Subscribe