I never thought to watch this movie when it first came out. Though because of Hebe Tien (田馥甄)'s song
in the OST that I already knew about this film. I believe it was Netflix's first distribution of a film made in China.
Though this was before I saw who directed this film. Rene Liu (刘若英), and this is her directorial debut. If that name rings any bell, she sang a lot (read a lot) of ballads in the late 90s and early 2000s that are must sings in the KTV. Particularly this song 后来.
I mean, I got 2 hours to burn.
The entire film is split into two parts, the flashback sequences, which were set in the 90s, and the present year set in 2018.
It follows two people. Lin Jianqing (played by Jing Boran 井柏然) and Xiaoxiao Fang (played by Zhou Dongyu 周冬雨) as they make their way to Beijing from their fictional hometown of Yaojiang Town. Though from the looks of the setting, looks to be up north east (东北).
Curiously, it is the flashback that is in color, while the present is presented in B&W. Like... what's happening in the present is something that shouldn't have happened, a dream, a sidestory, a forgotten part.
The main actors play both their young and old characters, but just from the basis of their actual age, are more natural in the flashbacks than their "old" counterparts. The "old" taps into their acting chops and present a more mature, more practical part of their lives.
Special shoutout goes out to the father of the Jianqing, played by Zhuangzhuang Tian). He does not have many scenes in the movie, though that final scene will tug at your heart strings.
These two lines from the film:
"If you didn't leave at that time, would it make any difference to our relationship?"
"If at that time, you had the courage to get on the subway train, I would've stayed with you forever."
When I first heard that, I didn't read too much into it. It just sounded like regrets on top of regrets, a load of "What-ifs".
Later while listening to Eason Chen's main title song: 我们 that I saw the following YouTube comment, and everything clicked into place.
"This might be the difference between man and woman: While you are happy and contented, I have nothing. I really do not have the courage to get on that train, afraid you will follow me and live a terrible life; Meanwhile, she wants to see the attitude and determination in him, hope that he love without any doubts or fear. Hence, if you make this step and get on the subway train, I will follow you for the rest of our lives."