In Defense of Taiwanese Rom-coms

Everyone has a guilty pleasure movie - that one movie they can quote from beginning to end, though they would never tell anyone about it.


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Everyone has a guilty pleasure movie. It is that one movie they can quote from beginning to end (though they would never tell anyone). Your guilty pleasure movie has an 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is the topic of viral memes. It has no true cinematic value. Yet, we love it!

For me, the Taiwanese Rom-com is my guilty pleasure. They have changed my perspective on love, relationships, and youth. Yes, I know Taiwanese Rom-coms are cheesy.  But beyond the cliches and missed love connections is something greater. These movies make you evaluate life's realities and your own logic. 

I go all in for Taiwanese romantic comedies. These movies give you the ups, the downs, and the nasty realities of life, yet somehow leave you believing in the magic of love

They are the perfect combination of love and reality. They give you what you need, quite simply, and that’s something to bank on.

My introduction to Taiwanese Rom-coms was about five years too late. My friend told me to watch "You are the Apple of My Eye," because I had an upcoming presentation on television and cinema. This movie changed my life. 

It is beyond me bawling for hours in my dorm room. Beyond the quotable moments and the lovable, conflicted narrator/love interest. It defines a generation. Every Chinese person my age knows this movie. Beyond breaking the ice, I have built friendships from discussions about it and my overall love for Taiwanese Rom-coms.  I even have friends that asked out their girlfriend during the epic ending scene. 

We all acknowledge how cheesy these movies are, but that doesn’t make them any less important to us. In fact, they introduced me to a part of Chinese pop culture. So, I encourage you and your friends to watch whatever super dorky Chinese movie is trending. That guilty pleasure movie can do much more than move you. 

To get you all started on Taiwanese rom-coms, here are a few of my absolute favorites.

1. You are the Apple of My Eye (那些年我们一起追的女孩)

The literal translation of this movie title is “the girl we all chased years ago”. It follows the narrator, Ko Ching-teng, and his friends  through high school and college. The movie focuses on his relationship with the class smart girl, Shen Jiayi. Based on a semi-autobiographical novel, this movie explores Ching-teng’s struggles with love and coming of age, as he works through his complicated relationship with Jiayi

2. Cafe. Waiting. Love (等一个人咖啡)

College freshman, Siying, works part-time at a coffee shop  comprised of quirky characters. One day, A’tuo ( a senior at her university) comes into the shop and runs into the lesbian home wrecker that stole his girlfriend. After Siying helps him through the embarrassing situation, they become friends. The movie follows their adventures until A’tuo makes a sudden decision.

3. Our Times (我的少女时代)

This movie focuses on the main character Lin Zhenxin as she reminisces about her time in high school. The movie begins with her being stuck at a mediocre job with a mediocre boyfriend. 

During a night of working overtime, she thinks back to a simpler time. In high school, after receiving a chain letter, she frantically sends it to the school bad boy, Xu Taiyu. After he discovers she is the original sender, they enter into a very precarious relationship that leads to some unexpected adventures.


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Elisabeth Fisher
Elisabeth is currently pursuing a Master's in International Relations at Peking University. She is an avid over thinker of the esoteric and obscure. She is also obsessed with pineapples, pomelos, and spices.

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