Movie Review: Tiny Times

By William Kustiono

Tiny Times (小時代), directed by Guo Jingming, is based on the best-selling novel written by author Guo Jingming (Same name, different people). Tiny Times 1.0 follows the film’s narrator and protagonist Lin Xiao (Yang Mi) and her best friends Gu Li (Amber Kuo), Nan Xiang (Haden Kuo), and Tang Wanru (Xie Yilin). From classmates in high school to roommates in college, these four young girls are on a self-discover journey while facing heavy pressures, and managing their internship -school work. In Tiny Times 2.0, the story takes a drastic turn. The four young girls have graduated and are now four adults struggling to establish careers in the world of high-fashion.

The first part of the story follows Lin Xiao interning at a famous fashion magazine. She must cope herself with her chief editor, Gong Ming, played by Rhydian Vaughan, who is described as the mysterious and loneliest person in the planet. This setting is easily interpreted as a Chinese reworking of The Devil Wears Prada. Lin Xiao’s strength is put to a test by her calm and charming chief editor and his assistant Kitty.

The film really depicts the life of a university student managing her work-life balance and the struggles of society. There is the wealth, middle-class, and poor in society. In the movie, we mainly see the lifestyle of the wealthy, therefore, we can only assume the other students are wealthy too. Lily is the wealthiest among the four girls and their attitude reinforces the girls’ friendship and relationship. They continue to support each other whenever they are in trouble or danger.

The second part of the film is similarly related to Gossip Girl or Sex and the City, but set in the China instead of New York City. It portrays the modern-day young adult that faces the reality in China today. The four young girls have graduated, but are not prepared to face reality. The situation gets worse when Nan Xiang breaks up with the girls, Lin Xiao finds out that Jian Xi, played by Li Yueming, who has a gastric cancer, and to make matters worse, Gu Li’s father gets into a car accident. Gu Li is not ready to take her father’s position in the company. She and the rest of the girls are once again challenged by the complex relationship of reality. Gu Li and the girls are back in action to overcome these struggles and save her family’s company.

The second part of the film is domino of events. When Gu Li’s father gets into a car accident, she is caught unprepared to instantly take over her father’s position. Therefore, she relies on her friends help to bolster the company’s value and possibly save the company’s downfall. Lin Xiao is still the main character in the story, but we see Gu Li and Gu Yuan play more important role in the movie. While trying to preserve her father’s company, Lily keeps it a secret from the other girls, her plan to put her father’s company comes back in motion. Tiny Times 2.0 has a more serious tone, but there are some comedic events.

Overall, Tiny Times is a great comedy and love movie drama. The story is very linear and transparent, it will not leave the audience confused about the plot. Yang Mi and Amber Kuo do a wonderful job portaying their respective characters in the movie. It seems the movie is relatively short and it does not really cover Lin Xiao, Nan Xiang, and Tang Wanru family background.

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