(This is the Hear Me film review, which is a Taiwanese romance film released in 2009)
Way before Michelle Chen rose popularity from the movie ‘You Are the Apple of My Eye‘, she made her first movie debut in ‘Hear Me’. Even though she wasn’t the main lead in this film, she was able to capture the hearts of viewers as she plays a swimming athlete with hearing disabilities. Hear Me may look like a classic bittersweet boy-meets-girl story from the poster, but there’s more to it. How did it fare? Read on the Hear Me film review below!
Hear Me is a classic tale of romance, where the boy meets a girl. Hearing-impaired Hsiao Peng (Michelle Chen) is one of the best swimmers in the team and is preparing for the upcoming Deaflympics. Yang Yang (Ivy Chen), being the supportive little sister, would juggle between odd jobs and following the team to cheer for her sister. Genial Tian Kuo (Eddie Peng) notice the equally cheerful Yang Yang, on one of his lunchbox delivery to the pool for deaf athletes, and is soon attracted to her. Tian Kuo tries to strike up a friendship and the pair communicates through sign language. Both started developing feelings, but not for long, until an accident changed their situation.
Hear Me Film Review
Hear Me has a pop culture sense, as they feature young pop idols, and captures the modern vibe activities in Taipei City. This includes a glimpse of busking, hip-hop dancing, cycling, and skateboarding. While these could be seen as heavily promoting on Taipei city, it does not affect the enjoyable tale between the two main leads. The young and talented director, Cheng Fen-Fen, was able to gracefully integrate sign language into the story, a language not familiar by the majority of the viewers. This movie is almost ten years old now, so there are many nostalgic icons, such as the Sony Ericsson phone, and the MSN online messenger.
Hear Me has also added in a perfect pinch of comedy in it, starring Luo Bei-an and Lin Mei-hsiu as Tian Kuo’s adorable parents. Portraying the love of a parent to child, and supporting them to pursue someone who is disabled, this film did not fail to prove that love can cross the boundaries of physical limitation. Tian Kuo’s character almost seemed to be the dull and good-natured boy, but thankfully it was always saved by his comical expression and Eddie Peng’s stand out good looks. Michelle Chen, on the other hand, does not get a lot of screen time, but for her first movie debut, it was already very promising that the actress would rise in popularity. Furthermore, whenever she signed the language with such convincing facial expressions, there was no reason to doubt when she was nominated for ‘Best New Actress Award’. Ivy Chen’s innocent look was also perfect for the clumsy and cheerful Yang Yang.
Hear Me is short and sweet, without any complicating plot. It can almost be passed off as another cliche romance, if not for the hearing-impaired twist. The film has not only shine the light to depict the daily life but also the challenges of a hearing-impaired and how graceful their means of communication is the sign language. Hear Me, is more than just a movie about lighthearted romance, it is about the sportsmanship and world of the hearing-impaired. Will you be able to learn some hand signs from this film, or would you just finish it without taking away some life lessons they had taught? You have to see it, to believe it.
[Hear Me film review score table]
Raise awareness for the deaf people life situation
Unique way of using hand language as the film's main form of communication
Light hearted romance story
A beautiful film comprised of hand languages!
Overall, this movie would let you understand the world that is unfamiliar to the majority, without feeling heavy on the topic. Personally, I've watched the movie more than 20 times, and I enjoyed it each and every time. It may not be the best way to learn sign language with movie context, but it was definitely worth the try. At the end of the day maybe a sign of thank you would make a hearing-impaired not feel distant from the rest of us. This film is beautiful in its own ways.