By Daniel Gray
"Over the Moon," an animated movie that was released on Netflix in October, follows the story of a young Chinese girl named Fei Fei (Cathy Ang) along with the ancient Chinese legend of a moon goddess named Chang'e (Phillipa Soo).
The movie is bright but has meaningful tones of loss from both Fei Fei's perspective and the moon goddess' that's heartwarming by the end.
First and foremost, the legend of the moon goddess is a very important part of the story, so here is the boiled-down version. There was a woman named Chang'e who loved a man named Houyi, however, one day Chang'e took a pill that granted her immortality, and she became a goddess while he stayed and died on Earth.
With that out of the way, let's continue with Fei Fei's story.
At a young age, Fei Fei lost her mother and the family suffered from the loss, though just a few years later, Fei Fei's father brought in another woman. Distraught, Fei Fei is sure that if her father believed in the moon goddess like he had when her mother was alive, he would not want to marry again.
Eventually, Fei Fei hatches the plan of forcing her father to believe that the moon goddess is real by flying to the moon herself in a rocket ship. She goes through many trial and errors before finally, she’s able to take off and almost crashes immediately.
Before she can get close to hitting the ground, the moon goddess herself rescues her and brings her up to the moon.
Once she reaches Chang'e, the goddess is annoyed when she finds out Fei Fei did not bring 'the gift' that will grant the goddess' wish of bringing Houyi back. Until she finds the gift, she cannot take a picture of Chang'e to prove that she is real.
After a small adventure, Fei Fei finds the gift and brings it to the goddess, but it is too late to rescue Houyi and he cannot be turned immortal. Chang'e falls into a depressive state that Fei Fei helps her get out of through her own grief and mourning over her mother.
The moon goddess helps bring her back home, but not before teaching Fei Fei that she can learn to move on from her sadness and look forward to a new family with the happiness it brings.
This movie was heartwarming in every sense of the word. There were several points that had me on the verge of tears, especially when Fei Fei and the moon goddess were bonding with grief towards the end. The only issue taken with the movie is how it lacks the moon goddess' story and how it could have been expanded a bit better for western audiences.
The animation was beautifully done, and I found myself entranced by the visuals. It's a worthy watch and definitely something I would revisit over and over again. <