This is the best local movie I've ever watched and it exposed me to an aspect of Singapore's culture that I previously wasn't aware of - xinyao music! That Girl in Pinafore is a coming-of-age film, set against the backdrop of 1990s Singapore and featuring the local music from that era, xinyao. A group of boys and girls are drawn together by circumstances and their love for music. Together, they help to revive the xinyao club run by Jiangming's family. Romance blossoms between Jiangming and May, but her mother opposes their being together (as Jiangming did not even make it into junior college) and wants May to further her studies in America. Although they remain true to each other, there is an twist at the end which catches the viewer off-guard.
I loved all the songs; their description of life in Singapore resonated with me. The cast was talented, giving true-to-life performances and handling the song numbers well. The different elements of the 1990s depicted in the movie brought on a wave of nostalgia - pagers, the boys' porn magazine business, taking phone calls from the opposite sex without your parents noticing. The things that continue to this day and make Singapore unique gave me a deeper appreciation of or culture - Singlish, parental perspectives on academics and dating, date activities. The plot has a few flaws, but avoids the exaggerations and one-sided characterisation that plague Jack Neo's movies. Overall, a great story set in 1990s Singapore with lovely music numbers and solid acting.
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