This Taiwanese movie was nominated in a few categories in the Asian Film Awards, Golden Horse Film Festival, and Hong Kong Film Awards. What caught me into wanting to see this was its trailer. Here it is (and it has english subtitles):
Director: Tom Lin
Cast: Rene Liu, Harlem Yu, Josie Xu Jiao, Hui-Min Lin, Kenneth Tsang
This a fantasy coming of age drama based on an illustrated book called The Starry Starry Night by Taiwanese author Jimmy Liao. The story begins with 13 year old Xiao Mei (Josie Xu Jiao) who lives with her parents (Rene Liu and Harlem Yu). They argue all the time and at home, her sanctuary is her grandfather’s Kennth Tsang) faraway presence in his cabin in the woods. On Christmas night, when she goes to her room, she gets mesmerized by the sound of a recorder playing to the nearby carolers’ music in the opposite building by a young boy. The next day, she realizes that this young boy, Xiao Jie (Hui-Min Lin) is the newcomer in her class. She feels attracted to him and follows him around. One day, he gets bullied for being “cocky” to the others and Xiao Mei goes to save him. After that, Xiao Jie asks her to join him for a class decorating competition. Eventually things are start getting bad when Xiao Mei’s grandfather dies and then shortly after, her parents decide to have a divorce and she needs to choose who to live with. Put in that situation, she decides to run away to her grandfather’s cabin with Xiao Jie to take him to see the beautiful starry night. However, they take a wrong path and its there they learn a bit more about each other. This journey will mark a friendship and love that will be one of their most cherished in their life to come.
This movie is a beauty to watch. I get drawn to movies like this for the fantasy element. It makes the movie feel magical even in the most depressing situations that our protagonists go through. We can see that their childhood memory will be so precious to both of them even during the tough times in life. Holding on to each other and diving into their own creativity and imagination it brings them into another world that helps them forget about their own problems. It actually reminds a bit of Bridge to Terabithia. Although I haven’t seen that movie in a long time so I’ll probably have to revisit it to see if there are some ideas grabbed from that. However, this one leaves you with a more profound sense of magic and fantasy. The music they use is simple but enough to support what is going on. There are some sharp chimes in the music help bring out the imaginative feeling they want .
Hui-Min Lin who plays Xiao Jie was nominated for that role in one of the awards. I have to agree with that nomination because he did a fantastic job as a boy who had gone through a lot of sad and tough times in his life. A boy who now had met a girl who brought him one of the happiest times of his life. To give these major roles to two amateur young actors, they deserve a huge nod of approval because they carried this movie into an emotional journey. When this movie finished, it brought me into a world of thought. I just kept thinking and feeling all mixed up about the story.
The sentence on that poster says it all, “one of the sweetest and most endearing movies…”
One of the best quotes in this (in my translation): “We as 13 year olds are very fragile, we as 13 year old actually is pretty strong. That’s why, before we have to face this cruel world, please treat us gently. We really don’t ask for much: one look, a sentence, some rain, some wind, even just a simple goodbye. Just these little bits of gentleness will make us feel happy…Even though everything will pass, but, before we have to let go, we can hold on to it as tight as we want.”
Do you enjoy fantasy, romance, drama? The concept of bringing together the power of magic, imagination and creativity?