#MovieMonday: Fall In Love At First Kiss Review, a Film By Our Times’ Lead Actor & Director


Taiwanese teen movies have, for a long time, been enchanting and captivating us. In 2011, it was romance film You’re The Apple Of My Eye.

Image: Hollywood Reporter

Four years later, it was rom-com Our Times.

Image: Teenage Singapore

And in 2018, it was sobfest More Than Blue. 

Image: Mothership

Seeing the pattern here? Yeah, the phenomenon takes place every few years, which means that we will have to wait until at least 2020 to get another one.

Image: gifrific.com

Yeah, it sucks.

But do we really have to wait that long?

You might already be aware, but just recently on Valentine’s Day, a Taiwanese movie opened in local cinemas:

Fall in love at first kiss.

Image: DeviantArt

And honestly speaking, it has all the necessary ingredients to become the next big thing.

For one, it stars Darren Wang, the actor best known for his thug portrayal of Xu Tai Yu in Our Times.

Image: Youtube

For two, it’s directed by Frankie Chen, the director behind 2015 hit Our Times.

And for three, it’s based on a hit Japanese manga Itazura Na Kiss.

Image: DVD Planet Store

Indeed, it has all the star qualities in its arsenal. But does it live up to its immeasurable potential?

Let’s find out.


Plotwise, it’s pretty much based on the original manga: a ditzy schoolgirl falls in love with the smartest student in school and tries every ‘plausible’ way to get his attention. But if you were to pursue a legitimate synopsis, here’s one courtesy of Popcorn:

FALL IN LOVE AT FIRST KISS is a Taiwanese movie adaptation of the popular Japanese manga series “Itazura na Kiss” written by Kaoru Tada. Jiang Zhishu is a smart boy, while Yuan Xiangqin is a ditzy girl who does not excel in her studies. On the first day of a new semester, Xiangqin comes across Zhishu, the handsome boy loved by thousands of girls. Starting from an unexpected kiss, Xiangqin has her unrequited love.

Image: FF2 Media

And here’s the trailer for the movie:

Sounds good so far? Well, let’s get moving to my personal take on the movie then.

Movie Review

Before I commence, do take note that I’ll try to avoid spoilers (because I hate them just as much as you) while crafting this masterpiece of a review. However, also take note that I’m only human (and a pretty clumsy one at that), so please forgive me if there are any… ‘leaks’. For the record, any such spoiler is strictly ‘accidental’.

(Editor’s note: We’ve helped the idiotic writer remove all spoilers, so this is a spoilers-free article)


Alright, with that settled… where do I start?


As mentioned in the synopsis, the main characters are pretty much polar opposites, with one ranking as the smartest student in school and the other as… well… you can kind of guess.

But here’s the thing: Jiang Zhi Shu (played by Darren Wang) isn’t your typical ‘smartest student in the school’ stereotype. In addition to being impossibly capable, he’s also handsome, popular, mature and physically fit.

Yeah, a Gary Stu right there, but then again that’s beside the point.

And then we have Xiang Qin, a schoolgirl whose only thoughts are that of her male crush. Like literally. To put it into perspective, her school books are filled with Zhi Shu’s names and small, little hearts.

Yeah, you get the picture.


But how do the characters square up, exactly? Did the actors portray their roles well?

Hmm… in that sense, I would have to say yes.

Darren Wang, for starters, really managed to carry out that ‘cocky yet not unlikeable’ persona that’s Jiang Zhi Shu. A tough feat to achieve, considering how arrogance and likeable don’t exactly stand in the same sentence.

Jelly Lin, who’s perhaps best known for her starring role in 2016 Stephen Chow film The Mermaid, does an exceptional job here too. Having adopted a character who’s more ditzy than beautiful, Jelly was oftentimes forced to abandon her pretty exterior for emotions that don’t exactly look good on the big screen. But to her credit, she managed to pull it off, and really came through as this bumbling, ditzy girl who’s so sweet and caring at the same time. Granted, there were some acting lapses in between, but considering how she hasn’t been in the industry for that long, I would say that she did a really good job.

And then elsewhere, we have the supporting characters. While the love rivals weren’t exactly prominent (I never saw them posing a real threat), Zhi Shu’s family did shine through. His mum, who’s played by Hong Kong actress Christy Chung, came off as a hyper, slightly absent-minded character who seems really concerned about her eldest son’s future, as well as Xiang Qin’s welfare.


And then we have Zhi Shu’s dad, who’s a really strict character and the reason why Zhi Shu grew up to be so capable. Now I have no idea whether it’s because the dad is played by former Channel 8 actor Christopher Lee, but I found myself liking his role more than I really should have.

Image: DramaPanda

By the way, why this guy age so fastly while his wife never seems to age arh?

Other elements

If you’ve watched Our Times, you would know that Frankie Chen has a real knack for settings and camera play. And it seems that we’re not to be disappointed, as she has yet again displayed those qualities in Love At First Kiss. 

To put it into perspective, there are a number of scenes which I just gawked at, not because there’s a wardrobe malfunction or anything, but because the scene was filmed so… expertly. Unfortunately, I can’t quite say how so, but I would have to say that cinematography wise, the film’s pretty well done.

Soundtrack wise, I didn’t quite find it as memorable as Our Times, or even You’re The Apple Of My Eye. Not saying that it’s bad or anything though; there are a few beats that really resonate with me, and they admittedly fit the onscreen scene really well. So while you won’t get another Hebe Tien classic or A-Lin classic, the movie’s soundtracks are, in my opinion, more than enough.

Visual wise, the whole movie just comes off as beautiful. Though for the benefit of the fangirls, I would say that you probably wouldn’t be disappointed with Darren Wang’s portrayal in the movie.


But of course, there’re bound to be concerns.


Isn’t the movie based on a hit manga? Is it too rushed or anything?

Fortunately for us, the movie progresses at a pretty comfortable pace. Granted, there are a few parts that I might’ve appreciated a little more information, but overall, I would say that the scriptwriter did a really respectable job considering the bulk of the source material.

Is it another tear jerker? My ‘kokoro’ can’t take it!

Sorry, no spoilers.

Will Darren Wang strip in the movie?

Sorry, no spoilers.

Will Jelly Lin strip in the movie?

I wish- oh wait no spoilers.

Worth a watch

Altogether, I would say that the movie’s worth a watch. While it’s not exactly as memorable as Our Times, it definitely strikes a chord of its own.

Image: PennsylvAsia

And of course, if you’re a fangirl of the lead actor…

You would probably be satisfied with it.

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Rating: 3.5/5