My Love review: A chronicle of a romance over 15 years
Length: 115 minutes
Director: Van Han
Cast: Greg Hsu, Zhang Ruonan, Kevin Yan, Ding Guansen, Wang Shasha, Caesar Guo
Language: Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles
Release details: In theatres 6 May (Singapore, Malaysia)
3 out of 5 stars
My Love follows a 15-year love story between Zhou Xiaoqi (Greg Hsu) and You Yongci (Zhang Ruonan). Their story begins from high school, when Zhou Xiaoqi is a swimming student and falls in love at first sight with You Yongci, whose name sounds like swimming pool in Mandarin. However, Zhou Xiaoqi’s unrequited love is not reciprocated at all after many years. But one day, You Yongci gives in to his approaches, believing that he will never break her heart. But due to a misspoken word, their relationship begins to break apart.
Being a romance drama, the plot takes its audience through all the highs and lows of the couple’s love story. Although 115 minutes can be a little long, the details are well executed, lending depth to not only the characters, but also their relationship. Some food for thought, perhaps something the movie is trying to explore, is the question: which is more painful — to never have something, or to have it but only to lose it?
Interestingly, the ending is not quite typical of the love stories we have seen so much. There is no “and they lived happily ever after,” which might be deduced from the Chinese title of the movie, which translates to "your wedding". But the movie gives a good closure to their relationship, which is heartwarming in a way.
One particularly touching scene is when Yongci is down with the flu on her birthday, and has to stay cooped up in her dorm. Xiaoqi then secretly sets off fireworks on the dormitory’s rooftop, attracting many students’ attention, including Yongci’s. Even though Yongci is oblivious to his presence, Xiaoqi shouts out "happy birthday" anyway, amid the buzz of the crowd and the booming fireworks. The final punch to the scene is when Michael Wong’s iconic, tear-jerking song Fairy Tale starts playing in the background.
Rather than highlighting cliched romance elements, My Love focuses on the stages and issues of relationships. Xiaoqi’s love for Yongci may be unrealistic, but is nonetheless admirable. From promising never to fight again, to training hard as a swimmer, to studying hard to get into the same university, Xiaoqi seems to never back down no matter what hurdle is thrown at him.
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