Tiny Times

July 28th, 2013

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Tiny Times

When four best friends try and move forward in their work and personal life, they realize that trying to live their life's dream is more difficult than they imagine -- especially in the high fashion world of Shanghai.

Release Year: 2013

Rating: 2.6/10 (236 voted)

Director: Jinming Guo

When four best friends try and move forward in their work and personal life, they realize that trying to live their life's dream is more difficult than they imagine -- especially in the high fashion world of Shanghai.

Taglines: Older but stronger...We call it friendship

Language: ,

Release Date:

Box Office Details

Budget: CNY 45,000,000 (estimated)

Technical Specs


User Review


Rating: 1/10

I have never seen such a ugly film and i think 郭敬明 can receive Razzie Award . Tiny Times tells the story of friendship between four girls from high school through college, with each girl also having her own love story. With a bit of a mix between The Devil Wears Prada and Gossip Girl, the story is told from the perspective of one of the girls who is an intern at a fashion and literature magazine. Differently, however, her boss is a handsome young man. Guo's own image is also reflected in the characters, but split into two roles: editor-in-chief of the magazine and an idolized young writer. Just like Guo's real life - a publisher who always prepares a plan B and a boy from a small town who gets famous at 17 and must face the pressure and loneliness of the world - the writer's characteristics and personality are recognizable in the film. The casting fits perfectly into different roles. These good-looking actors and actresses, mostly famous for pop television series or advertisements, all have their own fan base. However, it seems the acting potential of these young stars is not reflected in the film. Lead actor Ko Chen-tung's performance in Tiny Times is said to be not as good as what he did in You Are the Apple of My Eye. Few of the roles are fully represented even though the film is filled with voice-over to introduce the background. One of the ex-boyfriends, who can always lead to a strong emotional reaction from the girls, only appears twice in the whole movie. For those in the audience who never read the book, unconnected scenes and unreal details are everywhere. For instance, an extremely rich family does not have a guest room and has

to tell the girl staying over the night to sleep in the room with the son - the college student played by Ko. In another example, the girl who carries different Dior bags everyday cries to borrow money from her boyfriend because she cannot afford a crystal glass she broke in her boss' office. The problem of featuring multiple leading characters but not making careful use of them all is a common problem for those new to filmmaking. For instance, Zhao Wei who directed So Young made similar mistakes. Spin off success Nevertheless, from a purely commercial point-of-view, adapting the story for the big screen is wonderful. Long before the film was released, gossips about Tiny Times and Guo appeared all over the place. More than half of the members of the production team come from Taiwan, a place where films specifically target young audiences with its own unique style. As a result, the fashionable setting and glamorous photography are comparable to the best chick flicks Chinese audiences have seen before. Various attractive trailers, music videos and promotional posters all suggested the film's potential of becoming the most popular film of the year as long as the script and film languages reached an average professional level. The film remains loyal to the novel and the script was also written by Guo. The major problems seem to stem from a filming style that looks like a string of TV commercials all stitched together. The result is a collection of scenes that are unlikely to satisfy film critics and industry insiders. What Guo has done is more like producing a mood piece or a long music video as a spin off for the book to fans who admire the invisible "vanity fair" that was created in the book. Controversy as a trend Controversy about a film is no longer a surprise. However, the discussions about Tiny Times have created a phenomenon that audiences could have totally opposite opinions towards almost every part of the film. The series of books, Tiny Times (1.0/2.0/3.0), have boosted controversy since first coming out five years ago. Guo's target readers are teenagers. What he became famous for was mainly beautiful

languages and because of this, the excessive desire for luxuries mentioned in his books is seen as having a negative effect on youngsters who are still building up their values and ideologies. Such issues continue to be the main point of contention between the two camps that either love or hate the stories. The most frequent comment, especially by those who have no background knowledge of the novel, is that the story illustrates a warped value system-luxury labels appear every few minutes. The argument that Chinese films generally have been overly "teachy" and perhaps in the past spent too much time on values should allow the critics to switch focus on other problems or qualities that the film has. If the story was constructed upon an imaginary space like Twilight, some of the audience might forgive Guo's unrealistic details. Or, if the story was just about upper-class lifestyle like Gossip Girl, it would also be fine for many film critics. The main shortcoming lies on the contradiction that Guo wants to portray different people from different social backgrounds to reflect the status of the young generation in the current time period, as the name Tiny Times suggests. But the luxurious lifestyle and cartoon like characters are too much of a daydreamer's fairytale. Guo's success as a businessman is indubitable, but the film Tiny Times is exactly the same as the book - full of beautiful surface elements and never enough careful consideration. The disagreement between fans and film critics is a mirror of the gap between different generations. Youngsters would ask, what's so amazing about really deep thoughts?

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