Our Times (Chinese: 我的少女時代; pinyin: Wǒ De Shàonǚ Shídài, literally "The Time of My Maiden Years" or "My Girl's Generation") is a 2015 Taiwanese romance film directed by Frankie Chen. It is the directorial debut of Chen, who previously directed television dramas. The film stars Vivian Sung as Lin Zhen-xin, an ordinary school-girl, and Darren Wang as Hsu Tai-yu, the school's notorious gang leader.
Theatrical release poster
|Mandarin||Wǒ De Shàonǚ Shídài|
|Directed by||Frankie Chen|
|Produced by||Yeh Ju-fen|
|Music by||Hou Chih-chien|
Hualien Media International
Huace Pictures (Tianjin)
|Distributed by||Hualien Media International|
|Box office||US$84.4 million|
The film opens in the present day, where Lin Zhen-xin (Joe Chen) is an ordinary office worker who leads a stressful life. Her name, "Zhen-xin", literally means "sincere of heart", reflecting her hard-working nature which often gets her ridiculed by her younger subordinates. Dejected, she listens to a cassette recording of an old Andy Lau song. This brings her back to her high school days, when she was an ordinary high-school girl, who idolized Lau and lived a simple, care-free life. She had a crush on Ouyang Fei-Fan, (Dino Lee), the school's most popular male student, and had two good girl friends.
One day, seventeen-year-old Lin (Vivian Sung) receives a chain letter, warning her of impending doom if she does not pass the message on. Naively, she passes it on to Hsu Tai-yu (Darren Wang), the school's notorious gangster boss, her math teacher and Tao Min-min (Dewi Chien), the school's most popular girl. While Tai-yu reads the letter, he gets hit by a car. After weeding out the letter's sender, the angry Tai-yu makes Zhen-xin his 'friend' and forces her to run errands for him in exchange for leaving Ouyang alone, thus making her his errand-girl.
By chance, Zhen-xin accidentally overhears a conversation between Min-min and Ouyang and discovers that they are in a secret relationship. Dejected, she creates an alliance with Tai-yu, who likes Tao Min-min, to break the couple up. Throughout the course of events, Zhen-xin and Tai-yu begin to understand each other better, and their friendship evolves as they began to learn a thing or two about true love. Eventually, they develop romantic feelings for each other.
Tai-yu later discovers that he has a blood clot in his brain, caused by the car accident and further exacerbated by his frequent brawling and falls. His parents decide to send him overseas, leaving Zhen-xin with no way to contact him.
18 years later, Zhen-xin leaves her unhappy job and relationship upon having rediscovered herself. She is still unable to book a ticket to an Andy Lau concert that is set to take place in Taipei, but fate intervenes and allows Lau to act as the means by which Lin Zhen-xin and Hsu Tai-yu (Jerry Yan) are reunited as adults.
- Vivian Sung as young Lin Zhen-xin (林真心)
- Joe Chen as grown-up Lin Zhen-xin (林真心)
- Darren Wang as young Hsu Tai-yu (徐太宇)
- Jerry Yan as grown-up Hsu Tai-yu (徐太宇)
- Dino Lee as Ouyang Fei-fan (歐陽非凡)
- Dewi Chien as Tao Min-min (陶敏敏)
- Ian Chen as Ying Mu / Sakuragi (櫻木) one of Tai-yu's gang buddies.
- Tsai Yi-chen as Ho Mei (何美), Cheng-hsin's good friend.
- Chung Hsin-ling as Lin's mother.
- Andy Lau as himself
Outside of Taiwan, Our Times was released in Hong Kong and Macau box office on October 15th, 2015. It was then simultaneously released in both Singapore and Malaysia on October 22nd, 2015. The film was released in China on November 19th, 2015.
Out of Asia, Our Times was screened during the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival on 8 November 2015.
Our Times has often been compared to the 2011 hit romance film You Are the Apple of My Eye, which features a similar school-based romance plot line and takes places in the same time period (1990s). The Associated Press characterised the film as "the female version" of You Are the Apple of My Eye. However, the director and cast members dismiss this comparison, with director Chen questioning "How can my youth be the same as someone else's?".
Our Times was drawn into a box office dispute when the Taipei Theater Association, who distributes box office data, stopped publishing such data shortly before this film was released. Despite the absence of official box office data, the film's distributor, Hualien International Film, announced publicly that the film topped the Taiwanese box office. This has led to accusations that Hualien International Film, which counts major Taiwanese cinema chains Ambassador and Showtime as investors, deliberately stopped the release of box office results so that it could falsify reports of the film's box office performance.
Notwithstanding the dispute over the film's box office gross, Our Times performed well at the Taiwanese box office. The film grossed over NT$5,000,000 from its sneak preview screenings prior to its official box office launch. In the first week of its release in Taiwan, the film achieved a box office gross of over 100 million New Taiwan dollars. As of 13 October, the film had grossed over NT$156 million at the Taiwanese box office.
Our Times received lukewarm critical reviews. The South China Morning Post gave Our Times a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. It described the film's plot-line as "excessively saccharine will-they-won’t-they affair" and advised viewers "to simply surrender to the wave of sentimentality". However, it added that the film's "fairy-tale ending might feel hugely cathartic for the already converted". Similarly, the Taipei Times reviewer Ho Yi criticised the film's plot-line, saying that it "become repetitive at times, adding no new meaning to the narrative". However, Yi praised the cast members, in particular Vivan Sung, whom she complimented as "playing her role well with the comic effect without caricaturing her role." Yi also felt that the director has done a fine job with her attention to detail of the era which the film was set in.
In Singapore, The New Paper gave the film a rating of 5 out of 5, describing the film as "an irresistible combination of nostalgia, humour and heartfelt emotions" and praising it for "pack[ing] a punch for capturing the bittersweet feelings of youthful love".
|52nd Golden Horse Awards (2015)||Best Actress||Vivian Sung||Nominated|
|Best New Director||Frankie Chen||Nominated|
|Best Original Film Song||Xiao Xing-Yun (小幸運) (A Little Happiness)||Nominated|
On August 20, 2016, "A Little Happiness" performed by Hebe Tien reached 100 million views on YouTube, making her the first Chinese-language singer with more than 100 million views.
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