It happened the way serendipity does. I wasn’t looking for it, but I tripped on some chink in the universe and found myself face down, doing an eye-to-eye contact with something marvelous.
Having been freshly prepared straight from chemistry lab, I chewed on what was left of the cheese roll I was having for brunch while perusing the yellowed pages of Amy Tan’s A Hundred Secret Senses. Surrounding me was the homey chatter of my block mates, which was then swirling with post-lab buzz.
Thea called my attention and motioned to her iPod.
I clambered to where she was.
(Warning: Spoilers are imminent.)
“All of us have someone hidden in the bottom of our hearts. When we think of him, we will feel, um…always a little pain inside, but we will still want to keep him. Even though I don’t know where he is today, or what he is doing, he’s still the one who makes me know this: a crazy little thing called…LOVE.”
(Note: This is a Thai movie, so I’ve had to rely mercilessly on subtitles.)
The story is simple. Nam (Pimchanok Lerwisetpibol) falls in love with a senior, Shone (Mario Maurer). Nam is the stereotyped ugly duckling: dark skinned, “bug faced”, wears glasses, hangs out with the unpopular, while Shone is the handsome football player: athletic, graceful, popular, intelligent.
Scenes reveal Nam to be head over heels for Shone. He abides by the traffic rules, plays football for the fun of it, dances with his earphones on when his teacher punishes him. She swoons over him, does all the fangirl-ish rituals including the worship of the book “9 Recipes of Love (For Students)”.
He leaps from a tree and gives her mangoes. He treats her Pepsi because the school’s Basketball players are being rude it is shameful (and annoying).
She watches from afar. A little star twinkling, bright and fueled with hope. She explodes when she learns that he knows her name. She obtains his telephone number, calls him, inflates with ecstasy when she hears his voice then deflates with frustration when she learns he has hung up already.
Shone is interested in photography. If he isn’t playing or fooling around, the strap of his camera is most likely slung on his neck and his eyes are busy catching trails of art. To me, this is one of the most important elements of the plot (or perhaps, the most important element). This is where his emotions trickle down, where he pours his heart onto after shutting it most of the time from the outside world.
Through the lens of his camera, love is captured and it is developed.
Throughout more than half of the film, the only indicator that he actually likes Nam is whenever he aims his camera at her. While his eyes remain like shutters concealing feelings, his camera carries all of them within.
In Nam’s case, the problem is that she has never told Shone yet about her feelings, after three years of being hopelessly in love with him. Three years of trying to be beautiful and excellent so that he’d notice him. Such situation mirrors the circumstances of modern romance, wherein only those who are beautiful or handsome are given “affection”.
Having mustered much courage, Nam confesses. Finally. It’s actually one of my favorite scenes. It doesn’t matter that the woman is confessing to the man instead of the other way around; what really matters is that Nam is standing up for what she feels and is ready to account for it, to pursue it. She gets her heart broken, having learned that Shone already has a girlfriend. She cries. I cry.
Then her confession begins a cascade of events. Shone has always been in love with her, even before she topped the honor’s list or became beautiful. (Another one of my favorite scenes: a montage of Nam’s pictures shot by him.)
But they part ways. She to the United States and he to Bangkok.
The conclusion, 9 years later, happens to be an unexpected meet up. And the story ends with Shone’s words: “I have been waiting for someone to come back from the US.”
It’s beautiful. It’s not just cute, as I’ve judged it to be before. It’s simple, its plot predictable; nevertheless, it’s a beautiful film.
Because it is a reminder to us people that love never dies. Like a picture, love is indeed captured and then developed. And then it never ceases in existence. It is forever young in our memories. How you would call your crush and go on mute just to hear that person’s voice, how you would keep all those silly mementos (e.g. a candy this person especially saved for you), how you would do FLAMES, how you would experiment with names.
And the list goes on and on.
Crazy Little Thing Called Love is living up to its title. Being in love involves madness. It shall make you do things you never thought you’d ever do; it shall drive you crazy with its flurry of emotions. And when the madness has quieted down, love is the contented, happy sigh which says, “Wow.”
- The title of the film has variations: “A Little Thing Called Love”, “First Love”
- Shone is actually Chon (at the start of film, the photo exhibit credits the shots to a Chon), but I stuck to Shone because of the subtitle.
- Mario Maurer is a wonderful actor.
- The gif and the pictures can be Googled. I do not own any of them except for the one where Shone is holding his camera, which I have print-screened (because I couldn’t find any on the internet, when it’s such an important key to the story!).
- This is one of my favorite movies. I can already see myself watching it over and over again in the near future.