'The Ex-Files 4' explores China's urban lovers' emotional dilemmas

The highly popular "Ex-Files" franchise releases its fourth installment, whose portrayal of emotional dilemmas may resonate in particular with urban lovers.

Cast and crew pose for a group photo

at the premiere of "The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan" in Beijing, Sept. 25, 2023. [Photo courtesy of Dark Horse]

"The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan" follows buddies Meng Yun (played by Han Geng) and Yu Fei (Zheng Kai) as they navigate the challenges of adulthood and love. Meng Yun, recovering from a breakup, questions the idea of marriage. Meanwhile, Yu Fei and his girlfriend undergo a "marriage cooling-off period" to brace for potential marital challenges. As one seeks true love, the other faces marital realities, with both confronting new emotional quandaries.

At the premiere in Beijing on Monday, director Tian Yusheng stated that the film is dedicated to and addresses the worries and troubles of those unprepared for marriage, focusing not on age but on psychology. Actor Han Geng's character grapples with memories of his past relationships and the dilemmas of his new one, preferring to stay in his comfort zone of being lonely rather than confronting his fears of breaking out. Han expressed sympathy for his character and urged audiences to cherish their loved ones and speak out their love loudly. Meanwhile, actor Zheng Kai said that his role has grown significantly, in part because of his own love story, since the franchise's first installment.

A poster for "The Ex-Files 4: Marriage Plan." [Image courtesy of Huayi Brothers Media]

Thanks to the stunning success of its previous installment, "The Ex-File: The Return of the Exes," which grossed a massive 1.94 billion yuan, this latest film has generated significant online buzz and anticipation. Nearly 3 million people have indicated that they "want to see it" on China's major ticketing platforms, Maoyan and Taopiaopiao.

The film is set for a nationwide release on Sept. 28, entering the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday film season alongside numerous other heavyweight blockbusters.