Just finally got round to watching this after people were staring at me incrediously and saying 'you have not watched this?' So YES I'VE WATCHED IT NOW KAY heh.
The film starts of with wayyy too much naked butts and phallic humour. Especially the naked butts. Some of the phallic humour kinda had a reason to be there because the whole point was to portray their growing up childishness, but too much man too much. And somehow it finds its way once in awhile even to their later grown up years but I suppose perhaps that might be to simply say some things don't change heh. I have to admit though, the really crude humour can be pretty funny sometimes.
Now hold up. I won't declare this a must watch film, but it definitely is worth the time. I'm going to talk about some stuff that will turn out to be spoilers ahead, but if you like me are more interested in the way things are potrayed as opposed to the actual plot (because how different can high school romance plots really be), then you can go ahead and read the spoilers. If you do have the intention to watch it though, it might be better to go ahead youself first before checking out what I have to say about it.
*SOME SPOILERS AHEAD*
There are a couple of things I really liked about the film, and it has to do with the way the director painted the entire story. If there was one word I'd use to describe this film it would have to be 'honest'. It was never about some amazing powerful love that transcends all barriers aka your typical romance movie. It was immature, and that is the whole point.
那些年 is an appropriate shortening of the movie title which people use sometimes. That really to me are three important words. The movie wasn't really about how a guy and his friends tried to woo the same girl, it was really about how they used to do so. This movie is actually a semi autobiographical movie where the director (who is actually a famous novelist who wrote the book and then directed a film for his own book which is cool stuff) looks back into his own past with nostlagia and talks about his younger, childish days where he pursued this one girl of his dreams.
I really liked how the characters mature over time but retain that quality that is unique to them. The male and female lead start off as typical students, young and not quite yet knowing much about life, but they really do grow as the years pass. At high school, the guy was in all honesty quite retarded imo heh. As they grow older though, things became less about just mindless fun and laughter but steadily transit into adulthood.
*MORE SERIOUS PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD THAT TALKS ABOUT PARTS THAT MAY NOT BE SEEN IN TYPICAL ROMANCE MOVIES*
Like 5cm/s, I feel that this movie speaks equally as much if not more about life than it does about love. Love is an intergral part of life, but it goes beyond that. I see some people write comments about how much they hate the ending or how the break up was so terrible and could have been avoided, but these people are missing the point. This story isn't meant to be all happy and make things all beautiful and work out in the end, it just intends to put things across as they are.
And that is what life is for many of us. Experiencing young love, we may have not yet come to understand what loving another person entails beyond the feelings of europhia. We try all sorts of childish silly things to try to capture another person's heart thinking its all about being charming when it's really about loving. As outsiders, we lament how stupid the male lead was when he refused to hear the girl's response on their 'first date' in college, how stupid he was to organise the fight to try to win her heart, how stupid he was to let pride and anger get the better of him after being repremanded by someone who loves him thus leading to their 'break up'. I suppose that is exactly how the director feels as he looks back into how he handled certain things in the past, he was a silly, stupid young man who didn't quite know what to do.
Can any of us say we were different? I look back into my past and find it too riddled with stupidity. Things I could have had handled better but I didn't know better then.
One of the two most poignant moments in the film for me was during the earthquake. They had not talked to each other for two years following their ugly 'break up', but when it happened, the male lead instinctively sought to contact her because she still was important to him. By then, both of them already knew that they were (omigosh I have to do this) never ever ever getting back together. Yet either in that moment or perhaps in the years past as he reflected, the male lead finally displayed maturity in his simple caring without expecting returns. The two of them talked for a long while, reminscing the days when they were young and foolish. They talked about how they just weren't meant to be, speaking with a mixtures of emotions, look forward and being hopeful, thankful for all the experiences they went through, yet with tinge of pensive-wistful-melachonic-nostalgic sadness.
The other of course, was the conclusion of the film. As they attended the wedding, we realise they have all grown into mature young men and women, that their superficiality has transformed into close emotional bonds. Though their still behave childishly, their childish acts here were more like things they did to remember who they used to be. That through their shared experiences and the huge part they have played in each others lives, deep friendship and sentimentility exists despite having not been in contact for years. The final kiss (not your typical final kiss) was so unexpected and hilarious but it wasn't just for comidic effect. It spoke without words about all that could have been, and yet at the same time, how it doesn't really matter anymore. The male lead has come to be genuinely happy for her, and they both understand that all those years together had made them who they are. Though they will never be together, even if they may never speak again, because of all those years they will always be an integral part of one another's lives.
And that's life. It is brutually honest potrayal. Life will not always go the way you want it to, that the person whom you love just so much may not always be the person you spend your life with. Despite all that, as we look back, we may perhaps find that it is these little things that stir up so much within our hearts that really does make life beautiful.