Our Times

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.

Our Times
Theatrical release poster
Traditional我的少女時代
Simplified我的少女时代
MandarinWǒ De Shàonǚ Shídài
Directed byFrankie Chen
Produced byYeh Ju-fen
StarringVivian Sung
Darren Wang
Dino Lee
Dewi Chien
Music byHou Chih-chien
Production
companies
Focus Films
Hualien Media International
Huace Pictures (Tianjin)[1]
Distributed byHualien Media International
Release date
  • 14 August 2015 (2015-08-14) (Taiwan)
Running time
134 minutes
CountryTaiwan
LanguageStandard Chinese
BudgetUS$2.7 million
Box officeUS$84.4 million[2]

Plot

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.

Cast

  • 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)
  • 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

Production

Our Times is the directorial debut for Frankie Chen, who previously produced Taiwanese television dramas.[3]

Release

Outside of Taiwan, Our Times was released in Hong Kong and Macau box office on October 15th, 2015.[4] It was then simultaneously released in both Singapore and Malaysia on October 22nd, 2015.[5][6] The film was released in China on November 19th, 2015.[7]

Out of Asia, Our Times was screened during the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival on 8 November 2015.[8]

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).[3][9] The Associated Press characterised the film as "the female version" of You Are the Apple of My Eye.[3] However, the director and cast members dismiss this comparison, with director Chen questioning "How can my youth be the same as someone else's?".[3][9]

Reception

Box office

As of January 20th, 2016, the film has grossed $84,400,000 world-wide, with its largest territory being mainland China with $54,800,000.[2]

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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[11]

Notwithstanding the dispute over the film's box office gross, Our Times performed well at the Taiwanese box office.[12] The film grossed over NT$5,000,000 from its sneak preview screenings prior to its official box office launch.[13] 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.[14]

Our Times performed well in Singapore as well, clinching the box office champion in just the second week of its release.[15]

On its first four days at the mainland Chinese box office, the film grossed CN¥110 million.[1] It is the highest-grossing film from Taiwan at the mainland Chinese box office.[16]

Critical reception

Our Times received lukewarm critical reviews. The South China Morning Post gave Our Times a rating of 3 out of 5 stars.[4] 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".[4] However, it added that the film's "fairy-tale ending might feel hugely cathartic for the already converted".[4] 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".[17] 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."[17] 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.[17]

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".[18]

Accolades

Award Category Recipient Result
52nd Golden Horse Awards (2015) Best Actress Vivian Sung[19] Nominated
Best New Director Frankie Chen[19] Nominated
Best Original Film Song Xiao Xing-Yun (小幸運) (A Little Happiness) [19] 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.

References

  1. Kevin Ma (2015-11-24). "Hunger Games finale inflames Greater China". Film Business Asia. Archived from the original on 2015-11-25. Retrieved 2015-11-24.
  2. "Our Times (2015)". The Numbers. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
  3. "Taiwanese film tries to recapture bittersweet love of youth". Associated Press. Business Insider. 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  4. "Film review: Our Times - Taiwanese teen romance has a new winner". South China Morning Post. 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  5. Chan, Boon (2015-10-21). "Strong leads score in high school romance". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  6. "Our Times on Cinema Online". Cinema Online. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  7. 《我的少女时代》曝正片片段 定档11.19. sina (in Chinese). Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  8. 「我的少女時代」北美地區首映 陳玉珊導演親臨多倫多. Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office, Toronto (in Chinese). Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  9. Ng, Gwendolyn (2015-10-21). "Boy meets girl, strikes gold in Our Times". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  10. "Taiwan box office dispute gets violent". Film Business Asia. 2015-09-17. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  11. "Taipei exhibitors, distributors in b.o. dispute". Film Business Asia. 2015-08-22. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  12. Ma, Kelvin (2015-08-28). "Our Times is a summer hit in Taiwan". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  13. 我的少女時代破紀錄!票房冠軍擊敗好萊塢. @movie (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2015-08-18. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  14. Ma, Kelvin (2015-10-13). "Our Times is a summer hit in Taiwan". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  15. 《我的少女时代》 好口碑 晋升票房冠军. zaobao (in Chinese). Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  16. Patrick Brzeski (2015-11-30). "China Box Office: 'The Martian' Rockets to $50 Million, 'Mockingjay 2' Disappoints". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  17. Yi, Ho (2015-08-14). "Movie review: Our Times 我的少女時代". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  18. "Movie Review: Our Times (PG13)". The New Paper. 2015-10-21. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  19. 第五十二屆金馬獎入圍得獎. Golden Horse Awards (in Chinese). 2015-10-15. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
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