My inflight adventures continue, my friends, and today I met a movie that I wanted to tell you guys about, coz it’s cute, and there’s enough heart in here to bring on a nice case of the feels.
On a personal tangent, I’m kinda extra chuffed, because I basically decided on this movie today, because I recognized our leads’ names in the description. If you’ve been around here for a bit, you’d probably know that I only really started watching Chinese shows (mostly dramas) a couple of years ago, mostly as an addition to my main diet of Korean dramas. Which means that I often approach a Chinese show without having seen at least one of the leads before. And today, I recognized both leads’ names and where I’d last enjoyed their work (I saw Lei Jiayin in The First Half Of My Life and Tong Liya in Nirvana In Fire 2). Woot! Achievement unlocked! 😀
Ok, but seriously, this movie is a sweet lil one, which I hope you guys will like.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
A man and a woman (Lei Jiayin and Tong Liya), living in the same apartment 19 years apart, suddenly find their timelines – and their apartments – mashed together. Cue close proximity and fish out of water hijinks, amidst a growing bond between our surprised flatmates, and the big question of how they are going to deal with it all.
STUFF I LIKED
1. Our leads are great together, and the growing bond between our OTP feels real. Lei Jiayin and Tong Liya have very good chemistry, and I enjoyed watching them together on my screen. From the minute their characters Lu Ming and Xiaojiao set incredulous eyes on each other, all the way to the end, through every evolving stage of their relationship, I found their connection easy to believe in. Yes, it’s a stretch that Lei Jiayin is playing a 25-year-old, but his bashful dorky earnestness more than makes up for it. <3
2. The shared housing hijinks are funny. I just found it very amusing, to see their apartments literally mashing together, while they figured out this new weird shared space. Show’s brand of funny sat quite well with me, overall, which I count as a big plus.
3. Show is generally well-executed. From the way Show presents parallel timelines and how they intersect and interact, to how Show presents an entire 1999 world, alongside its 2018 world, I thought it was all quite well done. What I appreciate is that all of this solid execution isn’t so loud or distracting that it detracts from the story or our characters and their growing bond.
STUFF THAT COULD’VE BEEN BETTER
Generally speaking, I thought the rules within this fantasy construct weren’t super fleshed-out. Yes, there are some things which are made quite clear to us, but in particular, towards the end, I felt like I wasn’t so clear anymore, on how certain things were possible.
[SPOILER] For example, Show makes it clear that Lu Ming and Xiaojiao can’t open each others’ apartment doors, and that they can’t cheat the system by profiting in 2018, from their knowledge of 1999. They’re also not supposed to get too close to their other-timeline selves. Any of this rule-breaking will trigger tremors, a further-mashed apartment, and other strong weather conditions. But towards the end of the movie, we see Xiaojiao apparently near her younger self, and the world around her stays peaceful. I didn’t quite understand that. Also, it’s not super clear how Lu Ming and Xiaojiao share that moment in time at the very end of the movie, though I get that it has something to do with the spinning top. I mean, I enjoyed the story; I just didn’t quite understand how we were slicing through space and time. [END SPOILER]
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
I had a sense that Lu Ming wouldn’t allow himself to choose the dark side and become a tycoon through dubious means. I also had a sense that Xiaojiao wouldn’t stay with 2018 Lu Ming (now known as Lu Shiyi), because it was clear that she’d moved out in order to save Lu Ming, rather than to live the high life that Lu Shiyi promised. So I wasn’t surprised when they made the choices they did, but it was still gratifying to watch, all the same.
I love that Xiaojiao could tell that the person visiting her in her new home, was Lu Ming and not Lu Shiyi, even though he’d taken the trouble to dress the part. There was just so much care and emotion between these two, in that charged “final” meeting, and so much pathos, as Lu Ming went home and closed the door to 2018 for good. Augh.
Yes, it’s a little contrived that Lu Ming decides to save his boss the moment he realizes that his boss is Xiaojiao’s father whom she’d lost as a child, but I liked it anyway. I liked seeing Lu Ming make choices that freed his conscience, even though it meant that he would be giving up his realty dreams. And I liked that it was his love for and loyalty to Xiaojiao which gave him the strength to fight to make that choice.
I didn’t quite understand the workings of that final meeting at the corner (screenshot above), but I appreciated the sentiment that Lu Ming and Xiaojiao are so tuned in to each other, that they’d pick each other out of a crowd – and across timelines too. That final moment that they have, face to face, felt so poignant and bittersweet, and my heart lurched a little, when the top stopped spinning, and Xiaojiao vanishes before Lu Ming’s eyes, just before the credits started rolling.
What a bittersweet end to the movie, I thought. BUT THEN. The credits pause, and we get a scene of Xiaojiao meeting Lu Ming in the same timeline. Eee! Presumably, this is the version of Xiaojiao who was 12 years old in 1999, and has now grown up, because she doesn’t seem to recognize Lu Ming. Even so, things look like they will likely end well for this couple, as they get into a bickery space right away – just like they did before. Aw.
And YET, Show’s not done. Show has even more bonus goodies to serve up, as I get deeper into the credits. We get an extended scene of Lu Ming and Xiaojiao sitting together as a couple, dressed in matchy couple colors, teasing each other and generally just being cute and loving while telling each other lame jokes, like:
Her: Why is it so cold today?
Him: Do you know where the coldest place on earth is?
Her: The North Pole? South Pole?
Him: No. It’s the place that doesn’t have you in it. *kisses her forehead*
Hur. I mean, that’s so lame, but so cute, right? It’s true that in my head, I still have some questions for Show in terms of just how we got here, but the sight of these two together like this, makes me so happy and gives me so many of the warm fuzzy feels, that I’m willing to withhold the questions and just bask in the happy cute of it all. <3 You win, Show. You win.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Warm, sweet and funny, with lashings of heart-grabby poignance. PS: Make sure you sit through the credits!
FINAL GRADE: B+