Title: 南方小羊牧場 (When a Wolf Falls in Love With a Sheep)
Type: movie – Taiwanese
Director: Chi-Jan Hou
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Coming-of-age
Summary: “Life is tough in a big city. Especially for a young Taiwanese photocopy clerk, whose recent breakup haunts him day in and day out. But like all urban romance he soon meets the eccentric manic pixie of his dream. And together they struggle to get their lives back on track.” (source: imdb.com)
Whimsical best describes this saccharine film. The plot is a bit cliche and predictable. However, I think its creativity makes it unique from other films with a similar plot. The film demonstrates its creativity through beautifully, meticulously composed scenes that are sometimes coupled with stop motion or hand-drawn animation. Although this movie is categorized as a ro-com (romantic comedy), I think there’s less emphasis on romance between the two leads and more on overcoming obstacles in life. I guess you can say the movie falls under slice-of-life or coming-of-age genre.
The music draws out that feeling of innocence and young love. Sometimes it’s quirky, sometimes it hits you hard in the feels. I felt a toothache coming on because the film was so cute and sweet.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Taiwanese films/dramas because there’s a tendency, in my opinion, of overacting or overdramatizing some emotions—particularly shock or dumbfounded—to make a scene funny. I facepalm so hard I feel like I leave a mark. While the film does have some moments like these, overall I think the acting is decent to entice the audience. I feel like there’s great chemistry between the two leads, Cheng-Tung Ko (who plays Tung) and Man-Shu Chien (who plays Yang), in a puppy love sort of way. The film successfully utilizes timing to execute comedic lines/scenes. One example that comes to mind is when Tung tries to act nonchalant when Yang drops by the photocopy shop and notices he’s been keeping some of her sheep illustrations. He accidentally breaks an entire shelf and paper flies everywhere. Cue awkward silence and eye contact as he tries to come up with an excuse. As she’s leaving his expression quickly changes from a dopey smile to frown as his boss returns to the shop and sees a wreckage.
There are moments in the film that reminds me of Disney’s short Paperman and French film Amélie, so if you’re a fan of either or both, I definitely recommend it.