I went to watch this movie after hearing so much about it. The movie is directed by Giddens Ko (real name Ko Ching Teng, 柯景騰) a Taiwan writer. I have heard my students mention his name before but since I am not Chinese educated, I am not familiar with what he writes. The movie is based on a novel of the same name, but of course I have not heard about the book before. When a girl student of mine asked me whether I have watched the movie, another student , a boy, tried to warn me by saying the movie has some "that kind of scenes" ! I answered that whatever scenes can pass the Malaysian censor board should be fine for everyone. (Thinking back, I wonder whether he was warning me or tempting me, haha!) But come to think of it, why should he warn or tempt me? After all , even though I'm their teacher , I wouldn't be shocked by whatever they can show on the Malaysian cinema screens. They even added that this movie is for 18 and above. I was also told the movie did very well at the box office in Taiwan, Hongkong and Singapore. Not expecting anything but rather curious why this simple love story did so well and also why it deserves an 18SX rating, I went to have a look.
One good thing about my review is that I have not read the book (which is in Chinese) so my opinion is totally based on the movie and no comparison can be made with the book. My impression of the movie is that it is someone's story. It is simple and yet appealing. There are no syrupy love stories, misunderstandings, tragedies or heavy drama stuff. I suppose what the audience liked was its simplicity.It was something different from what we usually get in the Chinese movies. I guess the audience can relate to some part or another of the author's recollection. The growing up, the school life, hostel life and the goings on in the classroom and hostels.
The story is basically about a man , also named Ko Ching Teng(the author's real name) a mischevious boy who later becomes a write, recalling his school days, about how he and his friends were going after a pretty girl named Shen Jiayi. Incidently, the actor who portrayed this role got Best Newcomer Award at the 48th Golden Horse Awards this year.
The background narration throughout the movie sets the mood as though the narrator is telling you his story. The movie is very well directed as the audience is kept entertained with his interesting recollections. His description of his friends and school mates reminds each and everyone of us of our friends. His accounts of what boys talk about and what they do is entertaining to both male and female audiences. In the movie we see some scenes which we normally don't see in the movies. There are some gross things that we know people do but we seldom see this on screen. Things like sticking the pen caps in the nostrils in the classroom, girls shaving their armpits, boys urinating in bottles in hostels (and one of them continued the habit as an adult, urinating in bottles in the car).
The 18SX tag was probably necessary due to the synchronised masturbation scene in the classroom and also some scenes which suggest gay activities in the hostel bathrooms. Even though it was done in a funny and hilarious way, parents would have a hard time explaining to kids about the scenes. There was also a split second scene of a love-making act in the hostel.The original scene must have been longer, also hilarious I suppose. The scene with the little dog simulating the mating act on the Ko's foot was gross but had the audience in stitches. The scenes with Ko walking around in the nude (private parts hidden from the camera) in the house with his parents around , while studying, having dinner, is an eyebrow raiser. (haha!)
Overall, the movie is quite entertaining.