After watching the hagulguol-worthy film Us And Them, many people started suggesting the 2019 romantic-crime drama Better Days to me (yup, I am super late to the party). Without watching the trailer, I expected it to be another romantic cryfest, but it turned out to be much more than that: it's actually socially relevant and super timely, especially now when there are so many bullying scandals in South Korea.
What is the plot of Better Days?
The Chinese movie is adapted from a novel called Young And Beautiful and is directed by Derek Tsang. In Better Days, a smart high school student named Chen Nian becomes a victim of bullying, just when she's preparing for the state college entrance exams. She forms an unlikely friendship with a small-time criminal and "thug" named Bei, and he protects her from her bullies. Well Go USA Entertainment tells us: "Before they can retreat into a world of their own, both are dragged into the middle of a murder investigation that will change their lives forever."
Better Days encountered many controversies: In February 2019, the film was suddenly pulled out of the 69th Berlin Film Festival for what was supposedly its world premiere. According to some ~trusted sources~ of Variety: "the film had not obtained the official permits needed from mainland Chinese authorities." The film's release in China was also reportedly canceled in June 2019, and it was later shown in theaters in October 2019.
Who's in the cast of Better Days?
Zhou Dongyu as Chen Nian
Jackson Yee as Xiao Bei
Why should you watch Better Days?
First of all, it's socially relevant: it shows how bullying affects teenagers, and how it can lead to disastrous consequences. Better Days also teaches its audience how powerful speaking up for the oppressed—instead of staying silent and being a freaking enabler—can be. The lead couple's performances, especially Zhou Dongyu's, are worth applauding. After watching the movie, my eyes were swollen from all the crying!
Better Days has received many accolades from the 26th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Award, the 39th Hong Kong Film Awards, the Far East Film Festival, and the 33rd Golden Rooster Awards. It was also Hong Kong's entry for the Academy Awards' best international feature film category and it reportedly grossed over $220 million (P10.69 billion) during its theatrical release in China. If that's not enough reason for you to watch the film, I don't know what is!!
You can watch the full trailer for Better Days below:
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