Full of emotional drama and often tone-breaking physical jokes as any other romantic comedy, director Frankie Chen and original writer Giddens Ko still manage to bring out the best in Our Times, a emotional and nostalgic(even for me!) trip through school in the 80s.
That sounds like it should be a “bad” point, right? Well, not really. It’s all down to the execution, and the execution here is really good, from the casting, to how well paced the movie is.
Formulaic to almost a fault, Our Times uses that to its advantage, bringing out pretty much every old trick in the book, from overused stereotypes, to over-dramatizion of the simplest things, to the touching moments that hit you right below the belt. It all comes together to give the perfect sense of “I’ve seen it before, but it’s still great”, that can make you want to watch it again and again.
But this^ really got me. Chain letters. These things really made my day a million times worse back when I was in school.
This isn’t just about getting the guy or the girl, but with 4 different teens with pretty clear interests, you get something that’s a bit more complex. Our main protagonists, Lin Chen-Hsin (I REFUSE TO CALL HER TRULY)(Vivian Sung) and Su Tai-Yu (Darren Wang) begin with a mental image of what the perfect partner looks like, but as they mature, their perspectives change, and it’s a joy to watch it happen, since you can really place yourself in that situation. This movie just calls for that kind of empathetic response, and that’s probably how it became Taiwan’s highest grossing (locally at least) movie for 2015.
This movie ends on a really good note. After watching dozens of anime end without a choice of heroine, the fact that this show does that is a big plus for me. It felt great to have a clear cut ending for once. It’s really cathartic. It made me cry, like 5 Centimeters per Second, but in a better way. (I can’t really think of words to describe the feeling.)
Yes. This is the latest song to give me constant ear-gasms (horrifying image yes) while listening to it. Give it a try below while you’re reading!
A word of warning though. The video takes some important scenes from the movie, but of course, you can treat it as a trailer.
The song’s tone fits well into the sense of wistfulness the movie has, while the lyrics, check them out here, are absolutely spot-on for the message. And although there’s nothing too special about how it’s been sung, you have to give Hebe Tien credit for carrying the song well.
I have to have a separate section to say how amazing the casting was. You could feel the chemistry between the leads, and it’s very much a part of how the movie is so great. When they’re together the tension is almost palpable, and watching the teensy spark that came to life in the beginning mature into a bonfire thanks to well-written (for a rom-com) character development is really really satisfying.
The leads have major character development throughout the movie, but that often didn’t extend to the supporting cast. It’s not really a big issue, but let’s be honest, the supporting cast were practically plot devices.
The movie’s ending, which is great, unfortunately has one fatal flaw. They’re using actors that completely look different from the teens’ actors. I really don’t see why, besides being able to show people that are a lot more famous on screen, just to pull in people.
Yes, the context let’s you realize who it is, but still. I felt a big disconnect between the people. Sigh.
To be honest this should barely be an issue, but what really nagged at me after the movie was how sudden and unexplained some of the character development is. Now this is the kind of thinking that often ruins movies for me, usually sci-fi ones, and I really don’t encourage it, yet I feel it should be mentioned. Actually, forget about this, it’s a personal thing.
And this is the major point of contention between liking the movie and finding it only a “meh”. People who love the kind of nostalgia this movie gives off and also how adorable the romance is will of course fall within the former, but I know people who gave up after the first hour. But personally? I still find it one of the best movies I’ve watched recently. And damn. It made me feel nostalgic, and I’m only 17 this year!
I used the old review card because reasons.
Thanks for reading, and do sound off in the comments below if you’ve enjoyed the movie or the review!
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This review was written by Ascendant-Izanagi, who was actually kicked into doing this review after crying for half an hour. Check out his other stuff here.