Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Blue Gate Crossing (2002)

You know that movie that makes you smile even after the credits roll? Well, this movie's like that. Silly as it may sound, I'm still smiling as I'm writing this.

Blue Gate Crossing has a pretty simple storyline. A girl likes boys so she asks her friend to help her wooing him. The boy ends up liking the friend and not the girl. A common storyline if you ask me, but this one puts a spin to it.

Meng Kerou (Guey Lun-Mei) is a boyish high school students who help her friend, Lin Yuezhen (Liang Shui-Hui), woo Zhang Shihao (Chen Bolin). For Yuezhen, Kerou ends up delivering messages and letters to Zhang Shihao, but Yuezhen is too shy to really make an appearance in front of him. Zhang Shihao starts thinking there's really no Yuezhen and it's Kerou who likes him. That's not the whole story, of course. (That's only how it started. And when I narrate it like that, it seems to be pretty confusing!)

The movie starts with Yuezhen fantasizing a future with Zhang Shihao. And I think it's pretty amazing how the movie ends with Meng Kerou also fantasizing about Zhang Shihao but in a completely different manner. Blue Gate Crossing relies on good story-telling and solid characters to deliver a pretty good movie.

This movie moves pretty fast. The pace didn't dilly-dally but you'll never feel that it's rushed. Though it's only an hour-and-twenty-minute long, there's a coherence to the plot and a sense of completion to it. Some things aren't said outright and are left with the actions and implied dialogues of the characters. But it's not confusing, neither is it misleading.

I love how they treated Meng Kerou's dilemma, giving it a human touch. It's not just about wanting Yuezhen to like her back, but it's also understanding why she likes girls when according to her, girls should like boys. It's finding little pieces herself and understanding herself better. I also appreciate how Zhang Shihao approaches this confession from Kerou. It's not about pushing for her to be a girl since girls are supposed to like boys. It's about wishing that she likes boys so she could like him, too.

This movie seems to understand the little plights of teenagers. A teenager's problem can be pretty shallow sometimes, but other times, it can really tug at your heart. Shallow or not, it's never something to laugh about.

I greatly (let's put more emphasis on greatly!) enjoyed the silly but quite adorable series of back-and-forth bickering between Meng Kerou and Zhang Shihao. They have so much chemistry that I can't help but enjoy their every scene together. When Zhang Shihao first shows his dimples, I melt. When Meng Kerou asks him to kiss her, I squealed a little. (Then we learn the reason why she asks for that kiss, which is pretty heart-breaking.) Every little moment they have with each other is just so precious!

What I love best about this movie is the consistent writing. For some reason, I particularly love how the characters would repeat their questions in the same manner and same tone. I love how they keep on asking the same question unless they'd get an answer or be too infuriated to keep on asking. I appreciate how the characters grow with the story but they keep a pretty solid personality. Meng Kerou is strong-willed and will speak her mind in front of Zhang Shihao. Zhang Shihao is playful but knows when to be serious. I love that throughout the story, they grow up but didn't really change.

Some people probably won't like the ending, but I certainly did. They're young, they're in their teens. At that point in life, who in the world has the answer to everything?

This is actually my second time watching this movie, but this is the first time that I watched it with subtitles. I am pretty glad I took the time to watch it again. If I didn't, the entire meaning of the story would have been lost to me. Don't ask me if there's anything I didn't like about the movie, because right now, I cannot think of any. Maybe when I'm not running high with these stupid happy thoughts and emotions, I might end up coming up with some things I didn't like about it. But nothing really strikes me at the moment, so maybe there's really nothing to hate.

I ended up loving this movie a bit too much that I end up wanting to watch more Taiwanese movies, and that's a first. I should probably explore more of their film offerings.

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