Before I saw this movie there was already a huge hype on social media and it became one of the biggest asian rom-com, on my newsfeed that is. But I’ve learnt from experience that popularity does not guarantee a good movie (*coughs Stay With Me), especially after receiving a negative review from two trusted friends of mine, I was pretty skeptical. Nevertheless, I was glad I got to see it in the end.
I’ll say it wasn’t my favourite, there were huge plot holes, some terrible acting, inconsistency and plenty of cheese. Half the time I was experiencing goosebumps from the amount of cheese just oozing out of this movie. Maybe I’m just not a big enough romantic for the kind of cheese being thrown at me. Yet, I was glad that it wasn’t as bad as I expected. There were plenty of cheese but also plenty of really cute, shippy scenes with the two leads.
I fell so hard for the main guy, Hsu Taiyu (Darren Wang *screams*). He has shown that not only does he have the looks, but also the skills. His charisma just leaks out of the screen and goes straight to my heart. Every time he laughs or smiles, damn but I can’t help but smile along with him. Darren Wang did a great job with Hsu Taiyu, he has managed to show different sides of his character with his different expressions. I found that most male MCs only have two expressions, they either smirk or they scowl. Not with Hsu Taiyu. He laughed, he smirked, he smiled, he scowled (gangster style of course) and he hurt. I love the scenes with him laughing though, especially with the scene at the rollerskating rink. I could feel my heart dying.
the way he leans in while smirking *screams internally*
the hurt on his face 😦
I love how in this shot he manages to portray different layers of his character in one expression. He’s still retaining his gangsta smirk while looking amused but he has the eyes of a boy already falling in love. That’s it. My heart can’t take this.
I really like Lin Zhen Xin (Vivian Sung) as well. But what’s with her name though. She was lovable, funny and relatable. I’m sure every girl who has had an idol crush or an unrequited love or both can relate to her fangirling moments as well as her painful ones. Vivian Sung was really good here, I didn’t like her in Cafe.Waiting.Love. Well I didn’t like the movie either. She appears in the movie as an unkempt, loserish girl and she did look the part. Though she later transforms but she still looked pretty ordinary, which was a good thing. However she sort of lost some of her energy and spunk since her transformation and took on a more watered down version which was kind of disappointing. I really missed the spunk and loserish moments at the start. Same with Hsu Taiyu, who lost his arrogance and tsundere-ness and became this gentle and romantic guy. Tsk. I guess this is to show character development but really, I preferred the characters I fell for at the start of the movie.
Now we move on to the other two, who clearly were only there for plot progression. I thought Lin Zhen Xin’s two best friends had more character than her supposed love rival, Tao Minmin (Dewi Chien) did. I can’t blame her though since she never got much screen time anyway. But Ouyang Feifan (Dino Lee) gave me goosebumps everytime he appeared on screen. I get that he’s a singer and this was probably his first time acting but to be honest, he was pretty bad. The speech sounded as if he was reading from the script and every time he spoke I can’t help but cringe.
feels part 1
The movie had some really big plot holes as well. It felt as if there were scenes missing or being cut out which raised questions in my head. For example, how and when did Minmin come to like Taiyu. One minute she rejected his really extravagant courtship and another she’s giggling as she sees him in Mcdonalds. Shouldn’t there be at least a scene to show Minmin’s motivation for returning his “feelings”? And I felt like Taiyu’s trauma shouldn’t be that easy to resolve. All it took was Zhen Xin falling down repeatedly as she struggles to rollerskate and suddenly, upon her request Taiyu decides to do a 180 degrees change. Really? I mean he has obviously been blaming himself for years. You don’t just erase emotions like that with a few falls and a few words. It takes time, or sometimes, an entire TV series for a person to change. I felt they could have at least dragged it out a while before he finally decides to start studying again. It takes the weight off the issue by having it resolved so quickly (and easily). The one scene that really annoyed me was when she hid herself in the pool in an attempt to hide from Minmin and Ouyang. Erm…really? Was that really necessary? I mean she seemed as if she almost drowned and had to be saved by Taiyu, who started sobbing all of a sudden then walked away. That scene had so much potential than to remain as a fluffy “save the damsel in distress” scene. This entire movie had so much potential if not for all those plot holes and missing scenes. Oh well.
feels part 2
The script was one of the worst parts of this movie. Quotes like “if a girl says he hates you, it means she really really cares about you”, “When a woman says nothing is wrong, then something is wrong. When a woman says it’s okay, then it’s not okay!” and all those times when Zhen Xin teaches us (mostly females) on how to interpret a woman’s words, just pisses me off. First, there’s so much cheese here it’s making me sick. Second, where’s the originality? I’m getting really bad Fault In Our Stars vibes here. Third, us woman/girls don’t always not mean what we say. And I think instead of encouraging shit like saying the opposite of how we feel, we should start actually telling the truth about our feelings instead of having others to constantly guess.
feels part 3
There were many, many MANY seemingly fluffy moments that aim to melt your heart and fantasize of a romance as unrealistically perfect as the one in this movie. Some caught me off guard, especially with the beautiful camerawork and high-level performance by Darren Wang and Vivian Sung. While others just seemed cliche and predictable. It seemed like the movie tries its hardest to squeeze as many ship-worthy, nostalgic moments as possible in the short two hours that they were limited to, while sacrificing the actual storytelling, which is seriously such a waste of potential. One such shippy yet cliche moment was when they saw a shooting star and they decided to make a wish (like duh). Of course we all know what happens next. We have Zhen Xin closing her eyes while Taiyu takes a peek at her and gives his most loving gaze in which us, the audience, squeals at the fluffiness of it all. Except I saw it coming. Except all it did was give me goosebumps. Nope, not even Darren Wang’s loving gaze could pull me in this time.
Yet despite all it’s flaws, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of shots in this movie. Not what I had expected at all. The shots were pretty and captivating, capturing the mood of the scene perfectly. Though the colours were quite inconsistent, yellowy and vintage in some and neutral in others.
Here are some of my favourite shots:
love the colours here
lol that pun
The movie has its funny moments as well. I literally laughed out loud in a few scenes, which was quite a rare thing for me.
Girl: I picked the key, aren’t we fated?
Guy: Fated, your mother
Girl: You drove so slowly on purpose, is it because you want to be alone with me?
Guy: Boss! Sakurai! Wait for me!
LOL at this scene.
Special appearances by Jerry Yan (adult Taiyu), Chen Qiao En (adult Zhen Xin) and Andy Lau. I couldn’t understand why would they suddenly change the actor and actress for their adult roles when the original can clearly do it. I realised now that it was probably an attempt to squeeze as many popular cameos in as possible for the main target audience (clearly not me).
the cut before this was so cute as (grown up) Zhen Xin gushes over selfieing with Andy Lau
Overall, as commercially-driven and cheesy as it is, Our Times will remain as one of the more memorable movies on my list though You’re the Apple of My Eye will always remain as one of my top few. I definitely would recommend people to watch it if they haven’t. If not for the cheesy parts at least watch for the acting and cinematography. Or else, watch it for Darren Wang.