Director: Cheng Fen Fen
Cast: Eddie Peng Yuyan, Chen Yihan, Michelle Chen, Lo Peian, Lin Meihsiu
RunTime: 1 hr 49 mins
Released By: Festive Films & Cathay-Keris Films
Official Website: http://www.festivefilms.com/hearme/
Opening Day: 7 January 2010
HEAR ME is a light- hearted love story between Tian Kuo, an eager delivery boy, and Yang Yang, a gentle street performer. Yang Yang and her hearing- impaired sister, Xiao Peng, are training for a chance of a lifetime- the chance to compete in the Deaflympics. Yang Yang is a kind yet strong- willed girl who supports Xiao Peng by performing on the streets. Even though Yang Yang must work for her living expenses and Xiao Peng’s training fees, she nonetheless remains optimistic about the future. Tian Kuo, on the other hand, is a carefree and eager delivery boy for a restaurant which his parents own. On a fateful day, Tian Kuo met Yang Yang while delivering meal boxes to Xiao Peng’s swimming team, and fell in love immediately. Yang Yang, accidentally mistaking Tian Kuo to be hearing- impaired, became hesitant about the difficulties that they may encounter in the future, and refrained from Tian Kuo’s pursuits. What ensues is a story of love, companionship, communication, understanding, and family.
HEAR ME tells the story about a budding romance between a delivery boy and a deaf girl. Truth to be told, I am not a fan of Taiwanese production as their idol dramas give me an impression of amateurish acting and story without depth. This latest offering from Cheng Fen Fen which went on to become the highest grossing movie in its native country is no exception.
In trying to juggle between the romance between the male and female leads and the relationship between the sisters, Cheng's script failed miserably in satisfying both ends. The relationship between the sisters is overshadowed by the romance most of the time, as a result, when the outbreak between them occurs; it is hard for the audience to feel any attachment to the sisters. Though the romance takes up most of the screen time, the misunderstanding between the leads which is pivotal in typical Taiwanese drama is so trivial that the female lead appears petty and unreasonable. This makes it hard for viewers to believe the notion of her being a caring and loving person.
Eddie Peng plays the sloppy delivery boy, Tian Kuo, who knows sign language for reasons initially unknown. His portrayal, though comical at time, is hardly impressive. Ivy Chen as the female lead is not much better. HEAR ME being largely non-verbal makes the audience to rely more on the body language and facial expressions of the cast, hence creating a major flaw in the production as both the leads has neither the capability nor the X-factor to carry off a convincing performance.
It is a pity that Tian Kuo's parent has limited scenes as this pairing is by far the most entertaining and endearing of the whole movie. Lin Mei Xiu from drama hit "Fated to Love You" plays the loving and caring mother with alluring qualities. With her portrayal, the film beings forth a certain warmth to the audience that is otherwise much lacking. Cheng's focus on lower-class, unprivileged protagonists is noteworthy, as her characters' positive work ethic and simple, earnest values makes them easily identifiable. These characters work small, even menial jobs simply to keep their daily lives going - and they seem happy to do so. HEAR ME portrays these ground-level Taiwanese in a very warm manner, such that getting to know them feels quite comfortable.
All in all, HEAR ME suffers from undeveloped themes and below par performance from the leads. I seriously failed to comprehend the reason it becomes such a hit in Taiwan.
(It's best to turn away than going to HEAR ME)
Review by Sing Swee Leong