Monday, September 13, 2010

Review: Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa … Ruk (First Love)

  • Directed by Putthiphong Promsakha na Sakon Nakhon and Wasin Pokpong
  • Starring Mario Maurer, Pimchanok Luevisetpaibool, Sudarat Butrprom
  • Released in Thai cinemas on August 12, 2010; rated G
  • Wise Kwai's rating: 3/5

I've seen the Thai summer sleeper hit First Love and am not sure what I saw. But for reasons I can't explain, I liked it.

Maybe it had some of the exuberance and energy of the John Hughes teenage romantic comedies of the 1980s, like Pretty in Pink or Sixteen Candles.

A coming-of-age story, Sing Lek Lek Thee Riak Wa … Ruk (สิ่งเล็กๆ ที่เรียกว่า...รัก, also Crazy Little Thing Called Love), is about a schoolgirl and her undying crush on the school's heartthrob jock, portrayed by Mario Maurer.

The girl, named Nam, played by Pimchanok Luevisetpaibool, is at first an ugly duckling nerd with glasses. Over one summer, she ditches the spectacles and has her skin lightened. She is cast as Snow White in the school play and lands a spot as the leggy drum majorette leading the marching band. She sets hearts aflutter, but not, it seems, the school's soccer star.

The movie, a production of the Workpoint TV studio and Sahamongkol Film International, is directed by Putthiphong Promsakha na Sakon Nakhon and Wasin Pokpong.

Production values are fine, with the setting of a provincial Thai tourist town captured lushly and lovingly (not sure where it's at, but it's someplace with a reservoir).

The story meanders and despite its energetic pace seems overly long. After all, it covers the girl's entire time in high school, breezing through year after year, with Nam's heart staying true to the clownish, narcissistic photography enthusiast, played by Mario.

I suppose what helped me invest in the story was the great supporting cast, especially the three young friends of Nam. These child actors are sort of a Greek chorus to the whole proceedings.

The main supporting player is the comic actress "Tukky" Sudarat Butrprom, who portrays the English teacher [which is hilarious for her enunciations]. She's also sponsor of the school's comedy players. She has a crush on the school's gym teacher and sports coach, and battles for his affections with a taller, fairer rival faculty member.

The Love of Siam star Mario, at 21 years old, is still youthful looking enough to play a teenage schoolboy. I've found him annoying in his recent commercial spots for Pepsi and other products, but he's okay here. A tortured, lonely artistic soul trapped in an handsome athlete's body, he actually manages to become a sympathetic character.

The movie's ending takes the story off the rails and seems like a huge stretch – a desperation move to wrap things up and give audiences the happy ending they demand.

But whatever. The move proved effective, making First Love the surprise hit of Thailand's summer movie season. Opening on the Queen's Birthday/Mother's Day holiday weekend of August 12-15, First Love was in third place behind the slapstick monastic comedy Luangphee Teng 3 and Toy Story 3, but rose to second place the following weekend. At last count, First Love had earned around $2.2 million (68 million baht), a tidy sum. Along with GTH's latest hit romance Guan Muen Ho, the success shows that Thai audiences currently prefer homegrown romance over just about anything else.

I'm not the film's intended audience and I was initially turned off by the movie, mainly because of the movie posters that don't seem to have anything to do with what actually happens in the film. But I was eventually guilted into seeing it, after word of mouth had spread and friends were asking me about it. And despite my reluctance, I'm glad I saw it.

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  1. I'm not sure how I missed this post until now - since I've been hanging out for it and all.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the film. It may not be deep or have anything new to say, but I thought it was sweet and funny, and that for me was enough. I have to agree with you about the ending, that was my main misgiving with the film.

    This would be my third favourite film I saw in Thailand after Mundane History and Guan Muen Ho (which puts it above Lost Nation and - horror above all horrors - Uncle Boonmee). It's a formula film, but it's done well.

    I still can't believe it's the same actress playing both incarnations of the girl though :P

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. the film was's sweet, funny, and i guess everyone who had crushes way back schooldays would see themselves in this movie.. but honestly,it would be better if they didn't end it with a happily ever after...

  4. It should be 5/5 u can't watch any movie movies like these nowadays....

  5. i love p'shone..ur movie is really great ...i love it..muchh

  6. Hi, I'll lift some of the movie facts from this review for the English Wikipedia article for Crazy Little Thing Called Love. I'll cite your blog as reference as well :) Thanks!

  7. Jherskie, feel free to use whatever you want however you want, as long as you link back to the blog. However, from my own experience contributing to Wikipedia, I was led to believe that blogs such as this are frowned upon for reference use.

  8. Thanks! I'll just include a note in the talk page. Also, it's just movie facts and no one can discredit an objective detail anyway :)

  9. Sorry. Had a problem with my moderation of the following anonymous comment:

    "May I ask if there is a sequel to this movie? There's a lot of speculation that a movie "Summer Love" would be the second part of Crazy little Thing Called Love. Thanks."

    To which I say: As far I as I know, it's called First Love 2 and is still in development. It supposedly picks up directly from where the first movie left off.

  10. The movie is so great! Me and my sister cried watching it especially the part wherein it was revealed that p'shone secretly loves nam also.. aww I wish I'll have this kind of love story!haha! I'm in love! can't wait for the part 2!

  11. Please don't let my hormones conquer me and say "This is the greatest love story ever written" because it's not. hahaha.:)

    But still, I found the movie a very good one, considering the mediocrity of the quality of films here in the Philippines. I am one of its intended audience and believe me sir, it was very effective in courting us.

  12. great movie. i suggest that there would be part two where the plot or point of view or story teller would be shone. it would be like side-quel. where the thoughts of shone would be the storyline. please do tell to producers, directors, and writers my suggestion. maybe it may work out.. fans will love to have a part two.

  13. The film was aired in the national tv of the Philippines garnering high ratings and sudden trend of local web searches for the movie.The movie is marketed though as everyone's loves story which is quite vague in ones respect.I love how the movie ended but that's not how it mostly turns out.People can only relate on the scenes where P'nam would feel excited about seeing P'Shone while her friends are teasing her.It's a commonplace for most high school students and like you I like this movie very much.

  14. I can't imagen myself being crazy in that great movie. I was really inlove in all the cast. They are so very fun and so really good in there act.
    All of my high school classmates and scholmates was amaze in that movie not only them but aslo our great teachers who's amaze in the story. All the fun was there. It is mixed by drama, comedy, and also it "Crazy little thing called love"(First Love)---♥tHiS iS cRaZiEsT FiRsT mOvIe tHAt I wILl NeVeR fOrGeT iN mY wHOlE lIfe♥---:)FIRST EVER

  15. its was so amazing!! and so romantic

  16. My Top Thai Movies
    1. First Love (crazy little thing called love)
    2. SuckSeed
    3. Love Julinsee (Love at 4 size = last part/episode)
    4.Seasons Change
    5. hormones (Nana's Part)
    6. Yes or No

    im still searching for other Thai movies.. :D

  17. i really love tis film.... so cute!!!

  18. best love story ever...

  19. A very good Thai movie...
    I like this film so much...

  20. this movie is veryvery good

  21. Is there another movie for this movie? I think this movie is to be continued.


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