Can’t lie; the only reason I even knew this movie was coming out, was because Greg Hsu had stolen my heart good and proper in Someday Or One Day, and I just.. really wanted more of him on my screen, y’know?
I rarely ever watch a show just for the sake of an actor anymore, but I’ll tell ya this: Greg Hsu was THE reason I put this movie on my list, and then made sure to look for it. Heart-eyes can be powerful things, heh.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
This is the love story between Zhou Xiaoqi (Greg Hsu), who falls in love at first sight in his final year of high school, with the new transfer student, You Yongci (Zhang Ruo Nan).
MANAGING EXPECTATIONS / THE VIEWING LENS
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind, that I think would help to maximize your enjoyment of your watch.
1. This is based on 2018 k-movie On Your Wedding Day. If you’ve seen that movie, you’d know that this story leans bittersweet. I think that’s really helpful to know, going into this one. Also, I recall watching the k-original on a flight (once upon a time, when flying for work was still A Thing for me), and I do think that I like this Chinese version more. This one just lands as more relatable to me, somehow.
2. I feel like this type of story would tend to land better with more.. mature viewers. I’ll say the same thing that I said about 2018 kdrama The Third Charm: [HIGH LEVEL SPOILER] If you’ve ever loved and lost, and could still count it worth the cost, you’d be able to identify with this story. [END SPOILER] Yes, that’s a little spoilery, but I really do think it helps to put you in the right frame of mind to appreciate the story for what it wants to be.
3. It’s a bit of a slow burn. I have to admit that I found the first third or so of the movie a little hard-going, partly due to secondhand embarrassment, and partly due to the story feeling rather tropey. However, I found myself getting drawn into the emotion and poignance of the story, as it progressed. I’m glad I powered through the early stretch after all.
4. The lens. I feel like thinking of this as a story of growth and personal journey, rather than strictly as a romance, helps.
STUFF I LIKED
1. Our leads are very solid. This is really more of Xiaoqi’s story, since it’s told from his point of view, plus I was in this for Greg Hsu anyway, so it’s natural that I paid more attention to our male lead than our female lead. Both of them do good work of their roles, though, and I thought their chemistry was good.
2. The storytelling is effective. Considering how much ground our story covers in under 2 hours, I would say that Show does a solid job of teasing out the main highlights of each of our leads’ life stages, and making those highlights feel immersive and engaging to watch, while maintaining the pace, in order to drive our story forward. Nicely done, I thought.
3. It’s poignant and thought-provoking. Like I mentioned earlier, this story took a while to really grab my heart, but once I hit Show’s second half, I was all in. I found the situations in our story realistic and relatable, despite Show’s generally light and sometimes comic touch, and it made me think about my own life and the decisions I’ve made in the course of living it. Altogether, this movie put me in a bit of a reflective mood after I watched it, and that’s a job well done, I say.
THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]
I was happy for Xiaoqi, when he and Yongci were in the thick of being wonderfully, deliriously happy together, and my heart broke for him, when things eventually fell apart.
It is such a relatable sort of situation, though. Given that Xiaoqi had ruined his shoulder saving Yongci, and therefore had to give up his competitive swimming dreams, it’s not hard to understand why he’d struggle with the ghosts of regret, when life got difficult, and he had trouble finding a job. It’s only human for him to have these thoughts, and I feel so sorry for him, that the key catalyst for his relationship with Yongci coming to an end, was him speaking the existence of those regrets, as indefinite and uncertain as they were, out loud.
At the same time, I can’t argue with Yongci’s conclusion as well. I do think that she’s probably right, that the specter of these regrets would have continued to haunt them in their relationship, and it would have been practically impossible to rid themselves of the shadow that these regrets would have continued to cast on their relationship. As harsh as it seems, there is probably wisdom in Yongci’s decision, to break things off earlier, rather than later, in order to reduce the pain that they would both feel.
I’m glad that Xiaoqi eventually sees the little note that Yongci had once hidden in the ring box. The note isn’t translated on iQIYI (link to watch below), and what it says, in a rather teasing tone, is, “Since you have someone like me who loves you so much, you should cherish me. ❤️”
I really feel for Xiaoqi, as he cries in response to finally finding and reading that note, all this time later. It honestly seems like all the love, regret and longing that he’d put away, all come rushing back. I’m really glad that he makes the decision to attend Yongci’s wedding after all, and I think it’s so important, that he gets to have that conversation with her, before the ceremony.
I love that he gets to tell her everything that he’s kept in his heart all this time: that meeting her is the best thing that’s ever happened to him; that she was the one who had helped him to grow up; that he feels lucky, that they’d been so in love once; that he regrets ever having said that he’d felt regret; that he has no regrets because all the joy that he’d had in his growing up years, had been because of her. Augh. It’s all so poignant and so touching.
It is a very tearful scene, with both Xiaoqi and Yongci shedding tears, but these tears are clearly not tears of sorrow. There is a deep wistfulness to them, yes, but there is also a mutual appreciation, a deep sense of gratitude, and an enduring contentment, to have shared their lives with each other.
As they thank each other for the last 15 years, and wish each other well, there is so much sincerity and honesty in their words. He wishes her happiness with every step that she takes; she tells him to be free to finally do things for his own sake, and not for hers. There’s so much liberty mixed in with the pathos; so much tenderness and healing, in the heartache.
So bittersweet, and yet, so beautiful, at the same time.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Poignant, bittersweet and heartfelt.
FINAL GRADE: B+
WHERE TO WATCH:
You can check out the movie on iQIYI here, subbed and in HD.
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