Starry Starry Night 星空 (2011) – Taiwan / China

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 5th October 2012
In cinemas around Australia from 4 October 2012.

“Starry Starry Night” is one of the most heart-warming experiences of the year that succeeds in revoking the feeling of regrets, childhood memories and lost innocence. Directed by Tom Lin, “Starry Starry Night” points directly at the void that is often left gasping within the audience’s heart. This is a film that stays with you long after the credit rolls.

It is the simplicity that made me attracted to “Starry Starry Night” based on the illustrated pictorial book from famed Taiwanese author Jimmy Liao. Perhaps when one is lost within the parameters of complicated lives of adulthood, deep down, I have always relinquish the times of pure innocence, lost childhood memories and those years of growing up. “Starry Starry Night” is exactly that plus a little more. The film starts off rather slowly, but once it captures the audience attention, they are unlikely to be able to detach away from it. The film is filled with colourful and bright imagery and at times it feels as though we are experiencing a dream within a beautiful dream. It is a kind of film that keeps you thinking long after it finishes and lingers in your mind with a notion of hope, reality and a smile on your face. It’s a wonderful feeling to say the least.

Xu Jiao is absolutely stunning as the girl torn between growing up and the end of childhood innocence. The manner she is required to deal with a broken family, grandfather’s death and change is almost fascinating to endure. What made it all the more wonderful and relating is the way Xu carries the film and the emotions along the way in almost the most realistic yet simple manner. Lin Hui-min does not belong with anyone at school, but the connection between Lin and Xu is so mutual and pure that it simply cannot be acted. With the younger generation nowadays becoming more cynical and sexual at an earlier age, this film provides the audience with an afterthought and a reflection on their own self. Rene Liu is particularly impressive as Xu’s mother, perfectly juxtaposes the childhood innocence, hope and dreams in a dysfunctional marriage. Kwai Lun-mei as usual shines through in her cameo as the older Xu Jiao.

The film reminded me that living life is priceless and sometimes we get so caught out in the midst of everyday life, we forget about the purest of our dreams, our goals and what we really want to achieve. Tom Lin who previously directed “Winds of September” is obviously a fan of Jimmy Liao’s artworks and the way he brings the pictures to life is nothing short of sensational. At times, the film feels as though we are living in a dream like world.

All in all, “Starry Starry Night” is a prime example of how a simple yet detailed film can touch the very soul of its audience. There is nothing out of ordinary or unexpected twists and turns in the plotline, but what it gives out is more than that, a feeling, an emotion, a flashback and a reminder. I am a sucker for films like these and it has been a while a film can make me think about how far away I have gone from my pure and original self. Perhaps, society and growing up makes you a different person, but deep down, there is a flame somewhere that is just waiting for you to light up again. Or maybe, I just want to spend an entire night with someone special on a boat, doing nothing, but quietly looking up at the night sky. “Starry Starry Night” is exactly that and it is truly wonderful to endure… (Neo 2012)

I rated it 9/10

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