Asian cinema has a wonderful way of tackling universal themes, as this ever so tender tale of sexual discovery - girl style perfectly demonstrates.
For ever popular student Lin Yuezhen has a crush on the school swimming star, one Zhang Shihao, only in spite of her looks and style, somehow she just hasn't got the confidence to approach him direct. Thankfully her best friend Meng Kerou is on hand to act as a go-between. Yet whenever Shihao appears, Yuezhen promptly exits stage left, leaving Shihao with the impression that the seemingly non-existent Yuezhen is all but a pretext for Kerou to get up close and personal with him. Trouble is, Kerou's affection lies elsewhere or to be more precise, in the direction of her best friend.
Reminding us of what it was like to be seventeen, here writer and director Yee Chih-yen has created a joyous coming-of-age work in which the ever poignant question of 'do you like boys or do you like girls' is once again asked. Yet the central theme of sexual orientation and acceptance in many ways takes a backseat to the examination of friendship, love and that ever-important first kiss.
For here the teenage heart and mind is captured in its pure adolescent form, well before life gets complicated and weighed down with the responsibilities of adulthood. To this end Guey Lun-mei as Meng Kerou and Liang Shu-hui as Lin Yuezhen create a genuine sense of teenage playfulness, whilst Chen Bo-lin as Zhang Shihao is splendid as the straight boy who falls for a girl, only to discover that the feeling is mutual. Complete with a simple piano score, together with the catchy tune Accidentally Kelly Street, this beautifully told coming out work reflects the lyrical theme of I never thought life could be so sweet. Whether life for those of same-sex orientation is really that sweet in Taiwan is another issue, but this is certainly one cinematic gate you'll want to cross. A sheer delight.
screened as part of the 17th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2003