Our Times

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Our Times
Our Times, Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Traditional 我的少女時代
Simplified 我的少女时代
Mandarin Wǒ De Shàonǚ Shídài
Directed by Frankie Chen
Produced by Yeh Ju-fen
Starring Vivian Sung
Darren Wang
Dino Lee
Dewi Chien
Music by Hou Chih-chien
Production
companies
Focus Films
Hualien Media International
Huace Pictures (Tianjin)[1]
Distributed by Hualien Media International
Release date
  • 14 August 2015 (2015-08-14) (Taiwan)
Running time
134 minutes
Country Taiwan
Language Mandarin
Budget US$2.7 million
Box office US$84.4 million[2]

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 Cheng-hsin, an ordinary schoolgirl, and Darren Wang as Hsu Tai-yu, the school's notorious gang leader.

Plot[edit]

The film opens in the present day, where Lin Cheng-hsin (Joe Chen) is an ordinary office worker who leads a stressful life. Her name, "Cheng-hsin", literally means "sincere of heart", reflecting her hardworking 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 idolised Lau and lived a simple, carefree 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, 17 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 Cheng-hsin his 'friend' and forces her to run errands for him in exchange for leaving Ouyang alone, thus making her his errand-girl.

By chance, Cheng-hsin 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, Cheng-hsin 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 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 Cheng-hsin with no way to contact him in an era without social media.

18 years later, Cheng-hsin 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 Cheng-hsin and Hsu Tai-yu (Jerry Yan) are reunited as adults.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

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

Release[edit]

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

Box office[edit]

As of January 20, 2016, the film has grossed US$84.4million worldwide, with its largest territory being mainland China with US$54.8 million.[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[edit]

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[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 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. ^ a b "Our Times (2015)". The Numbers. Retrieved 2018-07-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Taiwanese film tries to recapture bittersweet love of youth". Associated Press. Business Insider. 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2015-10-18. 
  4. ^ a b c d "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. ^ a b 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. ^ a b "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. ^ a b c 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. ^ a b c 第五十二屆金馬獎入圍得獎. Golden Horse Awards (in Chinese). 2015-10-15. Retrieved 2015-10-15. 

External links[edit]