Fall in Love at First Kiss (一吻定情) is a very unnecessary feel-good movie that didn’t need to be made, again.
This post for Fall in Love at First Kiss (一吻定情) is spoiler-free.
The recently released Taiwanese movie Fall in Love at First Kiss (2019, directed by Frankie Chen 陳玉珊) is based on the Japanese manga Itazura na Kiss (trans. Playful Kiss), which has been adapted into countless television dramas and movies of different languages in Southeast Asia. Thus, making another adaptation of the same story seems utterly cliché and extremely overdone. I’m really not sure why there’s a need for this Taiwanese movie adaptation either.
In case you didn’t already know, Fall in Love at First Kiss follows the story of Yuan Xiangqin (Jelly Lin Yun 林允), an unintelligent student who belongs to the lowest ranking class “F” in her high school, whom has a crush on the smartest student Jiang Zhishu (Wang Talu 王大陆) in class “A”. One day, she decides to confess her feelings to him and drama ensues.
Because I’m already quite familiar with the plot of this adaptation, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the story of the movie. I will say that Wang’s acting in here is awful, or maybe it’s just the way he decided to portray the character that makes me doubt his acting skills. He plays Zhishu in a very wooden and stoic manner; he had a very hot and cold attitude, which felt really bothersome sometimes. But to be fair, I think that was how the character was scripted.
The actress Lin, who clearly is from China, tends to switch between a Taiwanese accent and a China accent, which really bothered me because if this movie is set in Taiwan, can it at least be consistent with the character accents 🤔? However, despite the awful accent, I think Lin had a captivating performance as Xiangqin, which honestly made her the most likeable and humorous character in the movie.
There is also another character called Ah Jin (Kenji Chen 陳柏融), a stereotypical gangster bully who has a crush on Xiangqin. I liked his character a lot because he was suave, cool, and charismatic. To be honest, Xiangqin could have ended up with him at the end of the movie and I wouldn’t even be mad because his character was better than the main one.
One thing to praise about the movie is its portrayal of the education segregation among intelligent and unintelligent students. I believe the education system is something that is more commonly explored in Asian programmes (as seen in the recent Korean drama Sky Castle), as I rarely see such subplots being explored widely in Hollywood movies. However, Fall in Love at First Kiss doesn’t take on a very political voice, it’s more of a lighthearted rom-com that is full of fluff.
I think this movie isn’t a must-see in theatres, but you can check it out once it’s out on streaming services or DVD. Or you can feel free to rewatch two other better Taiwanese movies such as 2011’s You Are the Apple of My Eye or 2015’s Our Times.