Apparently it is movie week here at Lost Laowai, because I have another recent Chinese flick to review. In an effort to help learn Chinese I always ask my students about good recent movies. Let’s be honest, most Chinese movies us foreigners hear about are either political or kung-fu based. However, I’m interested in the other movies; the comedies, the teen movies, the things my students relax with at night. I’m not looking for The Last Emperor, but rather Teen Witch or something similar.

So I paid attention when a number of students started talking about a new movie called You are the Apple of My Eye (Chinese title: 那些年,我们一起追的女孩) It’s a new movie, released in 2011, from Taiwan director Giddens Ko who has a badass pen name: 九把刀. It has been a major hit in Taiwan and Hong Kong, breaking all sorts of box office records (including one which was previously held by Kung Fu Hustle) but has not yet been released in mainland China.

“If you want to understand what Chinese high school was like, then you should watch this movie,” my best friend told me. The movie is about a group of high school kids navigating school, life and falling in love. It’s a pretty typical story, slacker boy meets high achieving girl. They hate each other at first, but he saves her one day from humiliation in class (and takes the punishment himself) and afterwards she takes him on as a project, insisting he work harder and study more. Of course the two fall in love, but then life, and emotions, gets in the way. The movie ends several years after college and has, not quite a happy ending, but a happy-ish ending.

It’s a typical coming-of-age story but done so well even I was feeling nostalgic for my youth (despite it being totally different than the movie). The acting is great (just ignore the fact the high school girl is played by a 26-year-old) and the characters, setting and writing is top notch. I watched it with horrible English subtitles, and I still got really immersed into the film so obviously something was done right. It is even quite funny at times.

I’m not sure I’ll ever really understand Chinese youth culture, especially what high school was like for these kids, but I like trying. And I like watching a cute, fun, romantic Chinese film. So I would definitely recommend this film.

Also, what about you? Do you have any good Chinese teen dramas to recommend?

Trailer for You are the Apple of My Eye


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  2. Pingback: Learn hot Chinese song - 胡夏Hu Xia- Na Xie Nian 那些年 Those Years: lyrics, pinyin, English translation and information about singer Hu xia

      • 那些年,我们一起追的女孩
        Na4 xie5 nian2, wo3 men5 yi4 qi3 zhui1 de5 nv3 hai2
        Na (pronoun, that) xie (the suffix habitually got put after pronoun to show the pronoun is in plural form, thus, na xie means those) nian (noun, years), wo men (pronoun, we) yi qi (adverb, together) zhui (verb, pursue) de (connecting particle to connect the attribute and the noun) nv hai (noun, girl)

        So, the translation
        In those years, the girl we pursued together
        The girl we pursued together in those years
        Hope you learned some Chinese phrases by reading this comment, have fun with learning Chinese.

  3. i’ve been looking for a version of this film with English subtitles for a while. could you please give me the link to the version that you watched? i don’t care how horrible the subtitles are 🙂 thanks!

  4. I found the subtitles where I usually find Chinese subtitles for English movies. At They have subtitles for just about everything. Maybe some better ones have been added as the movie was finally released in mainland!

  5. I have yet to see the movie, but I worked at the school for 8 years including the time they shot the film. Also, I just found out today that I dated the actual girl portrayed in the movie. NOT, when she was a high school student of course. I met her, 沈佳宜, when she was a intern teacher at a local elementary school. We were together for about 6 months. She was a smart and charming, but she never told me that all the guys were chasing her. Then again, why would she?
    Anyway, the students that I teach say the movie showed waht life was really like in the school. The Junior High department is rather good, but the high school department is what is called literally ‘cows out to pasture class’ 放牛班. Basically, a place to let kids goof off for three years.

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