I’ll play for you at graduation
Words: Desmond “Neo” Childs
The third movie in our Late Night, Date Night Marathon differs from the previous two in that it delves in something other than romantic comedy or erotic-drama. Jay Chou, the world-famous Taiwanese musician and singer–makes his directorial début here while also starring as the male-lead. The story itself centers around a talented young pianist who meets and becomes infatuated with a classmate. The problem is, she only shows up for school now and then. How will Lun (Jay Chou) ever confess his feelings to Yu (Guey Lun-Mei), the ‘mysterious piano girl’?
I’m tempted to unfairly lump this film into a group of movies with a label on them. The label isn’t necessarily a negative one, but many people who hear it cannot help but see it at one–and it’s predictable.
‘Predictable’ is the label. I kind of found this film predictable. What makes it a little weird for me, is that when I say something is predictable I’d like to be able to back that up with examples. I can’t do that. At least not at the moment. So instead, I’ll layout the most basic line of narrative this story follows.
Boy meets girl in school–in this case, they meet specifically in piano class. They’re both talented people and their supporting cast follow typical high school student tropes.
They interest one another–they begin to have cute little conversations, silly banter and begin to actively seek one another out.
Something the boy does is misinterpreted as his interest in the girl dissipating–The guy is either caught hugging another girl or some weird mishap where he kisses someone. Of course the leading-lady is worried about her relationship with such an individual.
The brief fallout–the two separate and are miserable. In this film, the fallout leads up to a major twist so I do give Mr.Chou (who also wrote the story) kudos.
The happy/magical/sappy/silly reconciliation–You know this part. It’s probably the most predictable of the predictable things I’ve listed. And to Jay Chou’s credit, he chooses take a route not traveled AS OFTEN. I can’t really say too much without giving the twist away other than the relationship between the two lead characters really is ‘timeless’.
I honestly enjoyed the subplots and supporting cast more in this one than the overall story. There were the two ruby students who befriend Lun and always seem to get into trouble. And let’s not forget Lun’s father–Chiu, played by the always brilliant Anthony Wong. The highlights of the movie itself would most definitely have to be any scene in which a piano serves as the primary set piece. The chemistry between Chou and Lun-Mei feels honest enough, but their on-screen relationship didn’t feel profound enough to call for the actions the both took. The whole ‘love’ story feels more like infatuation–and their onscreen time together was too muddled in flirting and empty promises. I guess the idea is that the two love birds didn’t really get the chance to explore ‘what could have been’. And if that’s the case then fine. But the falling action of this movie dealing with Lun frantically searching for Yu suddenly brings out the not so obvious point that both characters are seeking something more along the lines of an escape from their loneliness. But that’s just me.
On a positive note, Jay Chou’s direction is pretty poised and the story he developed isn’t a mediocre one. The scenes featuring instruments or concerts were beautiful to watch–and even seemed to serve as action sequences in an otherwise quiet, sullen picture. I do not feel like anyone outside of Anthony Wong deserves any true praise, but even he’s given certain dialogue that made me roll my eyes.
Ex: “Don’t be anything special. Be normal.”
Or something to that effect. He doesn’t want his son to try to be anything more than what anybody else is. I understand the culture is such that putting ‘self before the community’ is looked down upon–but it just felt like the scene wasn’t very nuanced.
This movie isn’t a bad movie. I just feel like it’s mostly forgettable. The movie did play at the 10th Udine Far East Film Festival–but i couldn’t find any info about whether it competed or just held showings. At any rate, you can check out the movie, free of charge on hulu.com
If you’ve seen Secret and agree or disagree, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
All images used have been taken from google.com and I do not own any of them.