The premise of the story revolves around Nam (Pimchanok), a 14 year old girl who falls in love with her senior, Shone (Mario) and tries to do everything in her power to get his attention, whether it is looking prettier, smarter or more accomplished. It is based on a true story- everyone’s true story according to the director, albeit with an ideal twist. How many true stories about an ugly duckling trying to attract the high school heartthrob derives a happily ever after? Only in the ugly duckling’s dreams and that is why I adore this movie so much. It gives the viewers hope and a poignant lesson. And besides, who wants to watch a depressing story about the mundane of life anyway? Viewers want to live vicariously through someone else’s life, preferably when the ordinary becomes extraordinary.
The story’s message drives home when Nam, after three years of obsession over Shone, takes the chance, the biggest moment of her life and admits her love for the boy she pines after for three grueling years. Throughout the movie thus far, Nam has fallen in love with Shone for his goodness, kindness and heroic endeavor. He is the reason why she transforms into a beautiful and stronger person. Shone is the ultimate hero in her eyes and for good reason. It is very easy to fall in love with him and we don’t fault her. So in this climactic scene, Nam meets him at the pool and is prepared to lay her heart on the line. It is the end of the year as she knows it and Shone will be playing football. It is now or never. She approaches him with a nervous smile and notices that he has the camera again. The boy likes to take pictures, of only nature he once said, but funny how he always snaps her pictures. Nam looks Shone in the eyes and says, “P’Shone, I have something to tell you.” As she begins, she also realizes the lesson that she has learned throughout the years and admits it to him. “I should have told you this long ago, I love you,” (in Thai she actually said I like you, but it’s a momentous occasion, I Love You is completely appropriate.) “I’ve loved you for three years. I’ve done everything to get you to notice me,” Nam continues explaining to him how much she has tried.. and finally, after getting everything off her chest, she smiles hopefully and tearfully at him, only to notice the heartbreaking words on his shirt. Pin Loves Shone. And when her eyes connect with his and the tears fall, my heart goes out to her. How many times in how many lives has this realization occur? When you realize that all is lost? That you really cannot have this person? And that everything is too late? So Nam stammers, “You are well suited,” and admits defeat, trying to walk away graciously. But she falls into the pool, gets out while soaked wet, “You are well suited” she repeats and muffles a cry in between her hands. It was heartbreaking to watch her walk out, her love unrequited, her friends crying as they watch her walk away and to pour salt on wound, Nam sees Pin as she walks out. Nam hugs her as if congratulating her and perhaps to console herself that Pin is a better person, she deserves him and that ultimately all of the sacrifice Nam has made is for naught.
All is not lost, another message delivers home. It turns out that her mister perfect is not so perfect after all. He is tight lipped and completely unable to tell her that he loves her all along too. Although he had a crush on Nam, their timing was never right. His best friend fell in love with her and had made him promise not to pursue her. But in the end, he had to at least tell her his feelings- that it was requited after all. Shone was prompted to admit his love (not verbally, god forbid that he would say it) because he was going to a football training camp the following day and she would be off to America to further her study. There’s no time like the present. Apparently Shone has been keeping a photo diary about the things he could not muster up enough courage to say- and they were all about Nam. Another heartbreaking moment because we know that Nam is in love with him and then now we know Shone is in love with her too but not strong enough to tell her! So before he leaves to the football training camp, he leaves his photo diary on her doorstep. I wanted to raise my fist to the heavens and ask why? Such is life, I could see the higher power telling me.
But life does have its wonderful moments. Nine years later, the two reunite on a TV show. Nam looking gorgeous and successful and Shone, a little darker, a little manlier, and absolutely still a heartthrob. The world is curious about Nam’s inspiration, how she became who she is today. She attributed that to her first love (can I say only love?) And the moment of truth, Nam meets Shone, after nine years separation. The history the two shared, the love confessions and her unexplained reaction to the book that he left for her.. all of that seemingly rolled in the last few seconds as the two stare at each other. Shone hands a beautiful bouquet of roses and the host asks Nam what she has been meaning to say to Shone.
“Are you married?” Nam questions as her heart hammers in her chest, as my heart hammers and as the entire audience heart hammers. Shone looks uncertainly at her, “I have..” the camera angles back at Nam’s face, everyone are at the edge of their seats. A few seconds pass and finally Shone utters, “I have been waiting for someone to return from America.” And I breathed a sigh of relief, not realizing that I’ve been holding my breath.
That my friends, was a fantastic, unassuming, cliff hanging ending- the viewers can only surmise that he has been waiting for her all of this time. All is right in the world, all is worth it. And we know that even if he did not mutter those beautiful words, Nam is still a stronger woman, an accomplished woman nonetheless. But it is a treat to hear him say those words and to find that nothing has changed and yet everything has changed. The ugly duckling transforms into a beautiful swan with successes and accomplishments trailing behind her, and in the end, she gets her prince charming, albeit not without a fight, some heartbreaks, misunderstandings and occurrences of an awkward adolescence. What one does for a crazy little thing called love!
(Sing Lek Lek Tee Reak Wa.. Ruk)
Starring Mario Maurer and Fern Pimchanok Lerwisetpibol
A Sahamongkol Film, directed by Wasin Pokpong and Putthiphong Promsahka Na Sakon Nakhon
Releasead 2010, Duration 109 minutes
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