Starring: Kai Ko, Michelle Chen, Steven Hao
Director: Giddens Ko
Running Time: 110 mins
You Are The Apple Of My Eye is a Taiwanese film about a group of friends who all have a crush on their class’ star student, except for the laziest member of their gang. However, as he grows closer to the girl, he starts to develop feelings for her as well.
It may not be the world’s most original piece of work, but that doesn’t mean that You Are The Apple Of My Eye isn’t a wonderful watch throughout. Playing brilliantly on the nostalgia of first love, it’s a delightful, pleasant and sweet film from beginning to end, all the while bringing an added bonus by following the main characters years beyond their high school romance. It’s at times a rather juvenile comedy, and occasionally suffers from typical genre melodrama, but on the whole, this is a properly enjoyable film that I highly recommend.
Let’s start off with the best part of all, the fact that it’s all just so sweet. That may sound like a cheesy and over-simplified way to praise a film, but sometimes that’s all you need to make for two hours of excellent entertainment. The great thing about this film is that, while it does follow a fairly cheesy teen romance story in its opening half, it’s still a sweet watch because it’s being presented from a nostalgic perspective, meaning that you can laugh along at some of the tropes as if you’re looking back on the innocence and inexperience of young lovers, rather than a simply cheesy plot playing out.
And that nostalgia goes further, because as well as helping the story to work better, the atmosphere that it creates is absolutely perfect for the pleasant romance that it’s trying to be. Much like an incredibly similar Taiwanese film, Our Times, You Are The Apple Of My Eye uses the nostalgia of first love to engross you in its central romance from the start, meaning that you’re able to relate to how the two central characters play off one another in the early stages of an awkward high school relationship.
What made this film stand out for me, however, was how much focus the story put onto the years after the high school romance. Taking a look into the future to see how the two main characters turned out in the end is a common trope in the romance genre, but it’s normally five minute or so snippet tagged onto the end of the main story.
This film, on the other hand, dedicates a full hour to the later years of our two lovers. While the opening act centring on the high school romance is a satisfying watch, and could arguably be a strong film in itself, the remainder of the film is a brilliantly satisfying bonus, feeling as if you’re being given a whole new film to watch while also delving deeper into the lives and emotions of our leads.
That means that the shortened first act cuts out all of the unnecessary tropes of the romance genre, and the remaining hour offers a whole new, fascinating story; a brilliantly effective and engaging structure that I’m surprised not to have seen too often before.
As well as the sweet romance and drama, this film also works fairly well as a comedy. Now, its opening act is a bit of a stumbling block when it comes to the comedy, with a little too much juvenile, American Pie-style humour crammed in just to make you laugh. However, as the characters mature and the years go on, so does the sense of humour, and although the film doesn’t prove an endlessly laugh-out-loud extravaganza, it manages to use humour and light comedy right up to the finish to provide a consistently enjoyable watch that lightens the effect of some of the unnecessarily melodramatic elements.
Overall, I had a wonderful time with You Are The Apple Of My Eye. Yes, it’s as cheesy as the title suggests, but thanks to its excellent use of nostalgia, furthered by an engrossing look into the lives of our characters after high school, it ultimately proves a far more enjoyable and endlessly delightful watch than you would expect, which is why I’m giving it a 7.8.