Netflix Picks Up Taiwanese Sleeper Hit 'Dear Ex'

The Chinese-language black comedy was a favorite on the Asian festival circuit and won an array of regional awards.

Taiwanese black comedy Dear Ex, a sleeper hit on the Asian film festival circuit, will soon be available in living rooms worldwide. Netflix revealed Thursday that it has acquired global digital rights to the film and plans to release it online on Feb. 1.

Co-directed by Mag Hsu and Chih-Yen Hsu, Dear Ex follows a recently bereaved widow who discovers that her late husband left his inheritance to a gay lover. The widow and the lover are drawn into a dispute — with a son torn between the sides. The film stars Roy Chiu, Ying-Xuan Hsieh, Spark Chen and Joseph Huang.

Netflix described the film as "bring[ing] to the screen a story of diverse and sometimes conflicting family values in a refreshing and fascinating way that marks a departure from conventional Mandarin films."

“From the themes and cast to the decision to land on Netflix as our exclusive global premiere platform, every choice was an experiment,” said Hsu. “We have shone a spotlight on the forces behind different kinds of family values for audiences in Taiwan and across Asia. Now, we want to show the world the growing momentum in Mandarin-language films.”

Dear Ex premiered at the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy last April. It later appeared at the Taipei, Busan and Macau film festivals, among others. In November, it received a theatrical release at home in Taiwan courtesy of Warner Bros. Among its honors were a best actress award for Hsieh at the Golden Horse Awards and best director for Mag Hsu and Chih-Yen Hsu at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival.