‘Stand By Me’ movie review: Mason Lee stars in light-hearted college romcom about getting put in the friend zone

By YP cadet Cheryl Lai Hiu-tung

Taiwanese director Lai Meng-jie explores the themes of love and friendship with a fresh perspective

By YP cadet Cheryl Lai Hiu-tung |

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Taiwanese rom-com Stand By Me gives a fresh perspective on the themes of growing up and finding love, but its execution leaves room for improvement.

The story starts off the usual way: Boy falls in love with girl, but the girl doesn’t return his feelings. Our protagonist, Jiu-bing, has had a crush on Bo-he since he was in primary school. They were inseparable best friends, but they’ve always remained just that – friends.

But things change when they are at university – Bo-he is instantly popular among the guys, much to Jiu-bing’s dismay. Jiu-bing, on the other hand, meets Xia-tian, a peppy high school girl. As Jiu-bing tries his hardest to escape the friend zone with the help of his new friend, he starts to mature and comes to terms with the part he plays in Bo-he’s life.

Stand By Me is similar to another Taiwanese hit, Our Times, with characters experiencing growth as individuals and finding themselves, while dealing with changes such as graduation and stepping out of their comfort zones.

The retrospective movie often uses flashbacks, which can be disorienting. It’s not that you can’t understand what the flashback shows, or follow along with the storyline, it’s more – “What is the relevance of this scene?”

The movie also crams too much into its short 103-minute running time. As we jump from one point to another, it becomes hard to keep track of what’s happened.

However, scenes are well written, the actors have undeniable chemistry, and the movie leaves you looking forward to experiencing college romances of your own. If you’re looking for something lighthearted and fun, this would be worth a watch.