First Time is a 2012 film from Asia. Here's your story: Young pretty sick girl meets good looking nice dude, and a relationship blossoms. That's all you need to know really. This is a typical Korean romantic melodrama if there ever was one. These Koreans are always remaking this same movie, but they're usually all effectively watchable enough, and Oh!...Wait! This isn't a Korean film? What?...It's from mainland China? What's going on here?...I'm confused!
That's what it felt like watching this film. I've watched a lot of Asian cinema from many countries over the years; and it's usually pretty easy to immediately determine what Asian country a movie has come from (even without sound or language or site/location markers). For a long time, all of these countries have mostly produced movies that have a certain particular feel & style that are usually uniquely inherent to their own cultures. I love & appreciate all these various styles regardless of what Asian country a movie comes from (unless the movie sucks, of course), but it seems the line between various Asian countries' film making styles are clearly starting to recently blur together more and more, and, I can hardly think of a better example of that than this film.
Plot wise, the most similar films I can compare this movie to are "ing" & "A Moment to Remember"; both are Korean melodramatic love stories dealing with a sick/dying girl and her love interest. It basically follows that type of story line, but it's executed with a bit more of a lighter touch for the most part. There are also numerous scenes and shots, and a couple of twists throughout that are more reminiscent of something similar to what you'd expect from a typical current Taiwanese and/or a Japanese production.
Another thing that stands out about this movie is that it is just packed full of sumptuous visuals (almost to the point of sensory overload). There's loads of impressive camera angles/shots, varying color palettes, beautiful scenery, etc. If nothing else, it is really is impressive just to sit back and look at. There's also a good bit of effective animated sequences that are infused into the film at various points in order to further supplement and progress the story & visuals.
The acting is fairly solid throughout, no complaints really. There's pretty much 3 main roles; the 2 attractive & charismatic leads, and the sick girl's mom. I can't recall seeing the lead actress before in anything else off the top of my head, and she gave a solid enough performance here, but I can't help but notice she is credited as "Angelababy". Hmmm! Angelababy? Really?...That's the name you want to be known as?...This woman is certainly free to call herself whatever she wants, of course, but I'm just gonna say it: That name is Freakin' AWFUL!
Is this movie any good on its own merits?...Yeah, It's OK for the most part!...it's sometimes a little bit scattershot, and I've basically seen all of its individual parts somewhere else before, but it mostly hits the marks when and where it needs to, and I think it's an entertaining and decent enough watch. I'll give it 6 stars or so as a stand alone flick/story, but, I'll give it an extra star or so because of its somewhat seemingly creative amalgam of "Pan Asian" styles, story, & visuals.
7 out of 10 stars overall!
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