Movie Review “So Young” by Vicky Zhao Wei

Article by Candace Lee
Photo credit Niko

So Young (致我們終將逝去的青春) is a 2013 Chinese drama film directed by actress turned director Vicky Zhao Wei.The film has become a major success at the Chinese box office, grossing over US$115 million. So Young is chosen as the opening film of 4th Annual New York Chinese Film Festival at Lincoln Center.

Vicky Zhao Wei. Photo credit Jia He

Based on the best-selling novel To Our Youth that is Fading Away by Xin Yiwu, this emotional roller coaster will have your stomach in your throat, your mouth struggling to form words, and your mind reeling long after the final credits have skated past the screen. Each character holds within them a certain sadness that will leave you speechless, and before you have time to close your dropped jaw, So Young will move on to the next plot explosion, leaving the viewer with a blurred perception of the events, characters and deeply rooted pains they feel. The story is layered upon itself, cutting from character to character and leaving the impression that college is an eclectic melting pot of considerable heartache and twisting drama that paints a grueling picture of what life has to offer beyond the campus.

So Young follows 1990s college life, fashioning together a group of confused and disorientated students who find themselves tied together in a knot of friendships, recklessness and warring emotion that comes parceled with being young. The actors let the characters run their course, filling each line with impact and pulling the audience along to their engaging tune, yet tugging a little too harshly at the movie’s conclusion, when the exposition starts continuously plucking the viewer’s heartstrings without pause and with a little too much vigor.

The majority of the film focuses on the few years of college life that the students must treasure, burning an important foundation into the audience’s mind and heart, stories that many can relate to and most can sympathize with; however, the time skip that follows brings with it an upheaval of the all-important concept of pacing, where the director seems to realize he has to hurriedly throw together an ending into the final 40 minutes. He pulls together all the loose strings, starts to weave a complex and chaotic series of knots, and finally throws his hands up in surrender, letting the threads fall where they may as the screen fades to black and the credits roll.

The film lets loose a full range of emotion, the effectiveness of the actors and initial storytelling anchoring the characters securely in this fictional world along with a clear understanding of how their roles must play out, but the ending starts to work against the scenes performed before it, stamping a large question mark over its contents and the fates of its characters. So Young will stay with you and is a clearly defined testament to the emotional high and low of human life, and like life, has no clear resolution.

Vicky Zhao, Jia Qi (Deputy Director of CCTV Movie Channel)


Avatar photo

About AsianInNY is New York’s leader in Asian networking and a multi-cultural entertainment site. AsianInNY has established itself as the premier social and cultural authority for Asians in New York City. AsianInNY maintains the highest standards in providing reliable online content and producing live offline events. AsianInNY seeks to inspire, educate, and connect our community, using a versatile platform that engages our audience via a multi-layered digital presence that showcases the best of New York City. Our pages are updated daily with a rich cultural mix of news, events, interviews, and more. AsianInNY: Connect with Everything Asian!