You Are the Apple of my Eye
Original Title: 那些年，我們一起追的女孩
Release date: August 19, 2011
Director: Giddens Ko
Book by: Giddens Ko
Screenplay by: Giddens Ko
Cast: Ko Chen-tung, Michelle Chen
After nearly a month in Taiwan, I come baring gifts~ Loads of Taiwanese content!
I got the chance to catch Taiwan’s biggest surprise of 2011 — also being pretty popular in Hong Kong and Singapore — a romantic drama called You Are the Apple of my Eye. But what’s so amazingly appealing about a simple romantic drama involving teenagers, you say?
Writer/director Giddens Ko takes his own book and adapts it to screen, and gives it his all — even extending his mortgage to raise money — to tell his semi-autobiographical story.
You Are the Apple of my Eye follows Ko-teng (Ko), a high school kid who spends his time goofing around with his pals — pretty boy Lao Tsao (Owodog, from boyband Lollipop F), lousy magician Ying-hung (Tsai Chang-hsien), eternally geeky dumb nerd with a boner nicknamed Boner (Yen Sheng-yu), and chubby A-he (Steven Hao) — all of whom are madly in love with pretty girl and honor student Chia-yi (Chen), who spends all her time hanging out with her best pal Chia-wei (Wan Wan) doodling.
Ko-teng and Chia-yi seem complete opposites, and Ko-teng despises everything about good girl Chia-yi, looking down on her for getting good grades and always being in other people’s good graces. Everything goes awry after a disturbingly — though shot in a comical way — masturbation session in a classroom, when Ko-teng gets punished with his new seat in class… in front of Chia-yi, who is supposed to keep an eye on the troublemaker.
All of a sudden, Ko-teng is found solving math problems and studying English under the tutelage of Chia-yi, who finds herself more and more drawn to him. However, You Are the Apple of my Eye isn’t your typical romantic drama. Instead, it holds a certain maturity that comes with time. By the end of the film, there’s no happily-ever-after of our heroes getting together. Instead we get a hilarious resolution that contains all the “what ifs” or “should’ve beens” that are present in real life with all the depressing tones needed to make you look back at your own.
What really killed the movie for me, however, is the masturbation humor, even though others had praised that humor — are you kidding me? Hey, I get it. Boys and young men jerk off, but did we really needed the scenes when they completely mess up with the mood of the film that carries that nostalgic Taiwanese vibe — and that’s another thing! Probably half the fun of the movie comes from knowing all the things these Taiwanese kids did in school… walking around Changhua County, getting food in the food market with your besties…
Overall, You Are the Apple of my Eye has a lot of positive aspects that include themes, mood and some decent acting with a nice “romantic” side that ring true to life, but all of these are drowned by Giddens Ko’s attempt to fit too much in, making it run longer than it should without keeping our interest. But… is the ending worth it? Probably, it is.