Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Secret (Bùnéng shuō de mìmì)

Not to be confused with the 2009 Korean film bearing the same English title, Secret is a 2007 Chinese film starring the popular Taiwanese musician Jay Chou and directed and written by the very same. It just so happens that this film was the man's directorial debut, too. Jay Chou also contributed to this film's soundtrack. 

By now you probably know that I am willing to watch just about anything. New, old, serious, sappy, whatever. It doesn't matter much to me. I like broadening my horizons a bit. This often tends to put me on the list of "permanently uncool people," but I suppose I'll just have to live with that.

Secret fits in perfectly well with the "sappy" I mentioned, but it also throws a mean curve ball that lands it squarely in territory with which I am quite comfortable.

This movie is about an hour and forty minutes and during that time I found myself going from "I've been here before and I know what's going to happen" to "Holy shit, I didn't see that coming at all." It took time to get there (about an hour), but the transition between the thought processes was lightning quick. 

This movie really surprised me and impressed me in the end. 

I'm not a big fan of romance films because they generally lack action and blood and boobies and all that good stuff. Sure, I've watched a few in both live action and animated form and I've even been impressed by some, but I need some action to keep things from getting too sentimental. Most of the time, anyway. Sometimes I do legitimately feel like getting in touch with with my inner feels. The other night I was just kinda feeling meh and decided that I'd watch something with a few feels attached. 

This movie stuck out to me during my search because it promised to bring something a bit different to the mix. Sure, feels can be good, but story is always better. I went for the story and definitely got a good one. Plus feels. 

Allow me to explain:

Jay Chou (whom you might recognize from his role Kato in the Seth Rogen interpretation of The Green Hornet) portrays Ye Xiang Lun, a very talented pianist who has just arrived to the very ritzy Tamkang School in order to pursue his musical dreams. Once there he meets a mysterious girl named Lu Xiao Yu and she just happens to love playing the piano, too. With so much in common the two get along famously, but it seems that no one else at school really pays any attention to her even though she seems nice enough. So what is wrong with her that Ye just can't seem to see? 

The answer will surprise you. You won't even see it coming. You think you might, but you'll be so way off base that it isn't even going to be funny. Jay Chou is someone I had never really noticed, but the dude is immensely talented to have created this movie. 

I've seen enough Asian stories taking place in a school setting to last me a lifetime. Tons and tons of them. Over half of them were love stories between the new boy and the strange girl or vice versa. I've seen them all and I thought for sure this movie was going to be a one trick pony like all of the others. The bicycle ride between young lovers? Check. The accidental kiss? Check. The prom scene? Also check. 

This movie had virtually all of the possible tropes and it seemed like a painfully normal find for me. 

Then this seemingly innocent film about cliched high school love turns into something closer to a... Well, that'd give away the "secret" so I won't make the comparison I was about to make. 

The story's conclusion is probably the most interesting and jaw-dropping I've seen in a movie since I first watched The Mist or The Departed. It's just one of those endings that will be discussed and hotly debated at length in forums for such topics forever. This movie made me think about all the possible ways to interpret the story and its ending for a long while. I'm still kind of thinking about and wondering "What the hell did I really watch? What the hell did that all mean?"

The secret to this movie is a good one. Sure, the movie is definitely a cryer if you are that type and it would be great for a couple's night in, but if you are on your own and feel like watching a romance with a side of fantasy thrown in then you can't go wrong with this at all. Hell, if you just want a good Chinese movie then this will do the trick, too. 

This one will stick with you for a while. Trust me. Have patience. It is ordinary for a while, but then we see through the eyes of Lu Xiao Yu and things become extraordinary. 

Highly recommended. 


  1. I'm putting it on my TBW list. I still have a couple of Korean flicks from this blog to see first. I'm liking Korean cinema. I can't remember seeing many Chinese flicks (Crouching Tiger is the only one i can think of off the top of my head).

    1. Infernal Affairs is a Chinese flick worth seeing. Definitely. The Departed was more or less a remake of it. Also The Flowers of War with Christian Bale is a good one, too. The Flowers of War didn't get a good rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I think that was because Bale was in it and it wasn't a Batman movie. I blogged about both of them on here. Both of them were Netflix finds.

      Yet oddly enough I have not seen Crouching Tiger.