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Eternal Summer (2006)
"Sheng xia guang nian" (original title)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,512 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 12 critic

Three high school students experience the perks and pitfalls of love in director Leste Chen's sensitive tale of friendship and yearning. As a child living in a seaside town in southern ... See full synopsis »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Bryant Chang ...
Kang Cheng-hsing / Jonathan (as Jui-chia Chang)
Hsiao-chuan Chang ...
Yu Shou-heng / Shane (as Joseph Chang)
Kate Yeung ...
Hui-chia
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Three high school students experience the perks and pitfalls of love in director Leste Chen's sensitive tale of friendship and yearning. As a child living in a seaside town in southern Taiwan... See full synopsis »

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No One Wishes To Be Lonely, Neither Do We.

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Drama | Romance

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13 October 2006 (Taiwan)  »

Also Known As:

Eternal Summer  »

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(uncut)

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Soundtracks

Eternal Summer
(Theme Song)
by May Day
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User Reviews

Movie Review: External Summer (2006)
5 February 2007 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

Movie Review: Eternal Summer (2006) By Ken Lee

This movie was a box office success in its native Taiwan when it was released late last year, garnering 4 nominations in Taiwan's Golden Horse Award along the way, and an eventual win for one of its male leads (Bryant CHANG Jui-chia, or ZHANG Ruijia in pinyin, who plays Jonathan KANG Zhenxing in a nuanced performance repletes with all the requisite repressed troubled mood), though a nod for its other male lead (Joseph CHANG Hsiao-chuan, or ZHANG Xiaoquan in pinyin, who plays the other-worldly Shane YU Souheng with tremendous vigour and enough *bling*), for the role of the high school jock and the object of desire of Jonathan, will be just as pleasing.

But the movie's success is less sterling in HK, where it just opens, presumably because movie-goers here typecast it with yet-another-melodramatic-Taiwanese-film association, and one with GLBT-theme at that, which is a shame, for it deserves a wider audience, even as it's one that isn't without minor flaws of its own, as befits the fate of most coming-of-age films helmed by relatively young directors (in this case, Leste CHEN, all of 25).

The plot is decidedly simple, and the narrative mostly linear, tracking the friendship and love of its 3 main protagonists ("best friends" Jonathan, Shane, and Carrie, played by Kate Yeung who shines in limited screen time) in their youth, from age 11 in a school in rural Hualian (in 1991) to age 18 (1998) to the college year in Taipei (2005), with all of their ensuing majesty, glory, anxiety, complicity, confusion, pang, angst, and a dreamy quality thrown in.

The film will benefit from some minor editing for a more even pace. Original music by Jeffrey CHENG is intrusive at best. These minor quibbles aside, cinematographer Charlie LAM's rendering of the rural locations is thing of pure magic and the theme song by Ah Xin (of the "May Day" rock band fame) blends in magnificently with the direction to which the film eventually takes.

A friend asked if this is a tear-jerker to avoid at all costs. My answer to which is that hot and bitter tears may flow, not necessarily because of the inherent sadness of the human conditions, but may be because it deepens our understanding of those who are perceived to be "different" and living on the fringe.

And if the measure of a film lies in whether the audience connects with the characters towards the end, and whether it leaves you with the sudden urge to be young and fell in love all over again, then it isn't to be missed; and so it seems "Eternal Summer" is a welcome addition to the growing list of Taiwanese films with GLBT content.

Recommended.


31 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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