Director: Lin Hsiao Chien
Cast: Chen Feiyu, Zhou Ye
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 11 May 2023
Synopsis: When Yuxuan (starring CHEN Feiyu) meets his childhood friend Shuyan (starring ZHOU Ye) after years, the friendship soon deepens into love. But not for long, a car accident takes the life of Shuyan. With deep sorrow Yuxuan makes a wish to make himeself travel through time back to the last day they meet each other. Reunion or separation, which one is thier ultimate fate?
It feels like we have seen this kind of plot somewhere before. A guy is madly in love with a girl, and the pair makes is the sweetest couple you’ve ever seen. Something terrible happens to the girl, and the boy is heartbroken. He finds a way to relive the day of the unfortunate incident, and he finds all ways and means from preventing the tragedy from happening. Of all the time loop movies that we have seen, the most classic one that comes to mine is Groundhog Day (1993).
So how is this Mainland Chinese production different from the other familiar stories where characters experience the same period of time which is repeatedly resetting itself? To be honest, this isn’t much of a breakthrough in storytelling, but if you’re in the mood to look at beautiful people and be moved by the greatness of love, it isn’t a bad way to spend 100 minutes in the cinema.
The movie directed by Lin Hsiao Chien starts off with Yuxuan (Chen Feiyu, who is also the son of filmmaker Chen Kaige) bumping into his childhood friend Shuyuan (Zhou Yu) at a wedding. In true fairy tale mode, the two fall in love (how he uses toys in blind boxes to charm her is rather adorable) and they are seen doing couple things like sharing dessert, spending time together and smiling happily in each other’s company. This doesn’t take very long to happen and you know something dramatic is going to happen.
Alas, Shuyuan dies from a freak accident and it doesn’t help that the two had a very small disagreement slightly before that. It makes the situation extra sad, but not to worry because Yuxuan goes home and wakes up to a new day where Shuyuan is still alive. Realising that the events that happen are identical to the day of the accident, he tries desperately to change the course of things. He also meets a strange old man who tells him cryptic things about how he can’t change things which are bound to happen. The poor guy is devastated when Yuxuan dies again. Did we mention that the screenwriters are out to make soft hearted viewers cry by making this day Yuxuan’s birthday?
You know where the story is going when Yuxuan wakes up to Shuyuan making breakfast. If you’re the impatient kind of audience, you’ll want to skip to the ending to see whether the filmmakers’ attempts at manipulating your emotions are worth your time. Without giving away anything, the story does move in a direction that incorporates fantasy and optimism. There is also the obligatory moving theme song to stir your feelings. Yup, there are flashbacks to make you indulge in your own happy memories too.
It helps that the leads are eye candy, and this makes up for the somewhat routine story. It is a great way to escape from the harsh realities of being in a relationship though, as you are reminded of the importance of cherishing the important people in your life.
(The time loop concept is nothing new, but this romantic drama does feature good-looking main leads and carries a gentle reminder about cherishing the important people in your life)
Review by John Li