The film follows a trio of close friends from a small town (no, Journey fans, they don`t live in a lonely world, nor do they take midnight trains). Aaron (Rhydian Vaughan) is the irresponsible James Dean caricature type, the caddish rebel without a cause. Liam (Joseph Chang) is the brooding introvert. Mabel (Lun Mei Gwei) is the level-headed lady with a spark of spontaneity. We follow these three through their lives as students in 1985 to their more sedate existence as middle-class adults in 2012. Along the way, we`re treated to student revolutions, casual vandalism at school, shenanigans in swimming pools, and as the title implies, one hell of a love triangle.
Say what you want about melodrama: GF*BF may possess that quality in spades, but it also does a good job of getting us emotionally invested in its trio of characters. The best bits of the film are in its first half, which portrays the three protagonists as students participating in the social revolution against Taiwanese martial law at the time. The nostalgia channeled in GF*BF`s best moments is both enjoyable and bittersweet in its transience, and Lun Mei Gwei in particular deserves honourable mention in her role as scrappy student.
The second half of the film struggles slightly to convince viewers of its authenticity, but is nonetheless solid. This is thanks in part to Joseph Chang`s performance, as his character grows into a conflicted, near-hermetic individual who exudes loneliness.
Comparisons will invariably be made between GF*BF and its filmic predecessor, last year`s You Are The Apple of My Eye, and for good reason, as both films channel the nostalgia of yesteryear in a highly effective manner. On the whole, GF*BF comes across as larger in scope, with more emotional depth and a revolutionary vibe to its first half, but also with a large dose of melodrama in its later bits. We dig it, but audiences allergic to sentimentality may want to take heed.
Summary: Enjoyably nostalgic if you aren`t allergic to melodrama.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars