So Young

So Young Information

So Young () is a 2013 Chinese drama film directed by Zhao Wei. It is based on the best-selling novel of the same name To Our Youth that is Fading Away by Xin Yiwu. The film is Zhao's directorial debut.

The film's English-language title alludes to the song So Young by the British alternative rock band Suede from their self-titled debut album. In addition to the novel, the film was also based in part by Zhao's own personal college experience in the 1990s.

The film has become a major success at the Chinese box office, grossing over 700 million yuan (US$115 million).


  • Yang Zishan as Zheng Wei
  • Mark Chao as Chen Xiaozheng
  • Han Geng as Lin Jing
  • Jiang Shuying as Ruan Guan
  • Bao Beier as Zhang
  • Zheng Kai as Xu Kaiyang
  • Zhang Yao as Li Weijuan
  • Tong Liya as Shi Jie
  • Liu Yase as Zhu Xiaobei
  • Wang Jiajia as Zeng Shu
  • Huang Ming as Zhao Shiyong
  • Pan Hong as Chen's mother
  • Yang Lan as Yang Lan
  • Han Hong as DJ Zi Juan


Xin Yiwu, author of the novel, has mentioned that Zhao Wei was actually her choice to play the lead character of "Zheng Wei". However, Zhao declined the offer, and opted to direct the film.

Besides Mark Chao and Han Geng, a majority of the cast are newcomers, including Yang Zishan, who played the lead female character Zheng Wei. Zhao stated, "They're very green and new. Sometimes they even lack common sense. But I like working with them because they're down-to-earth...What they lack in experience, they replace with enthusiasm."


For this film, Zhao Wei intended to take the story in a panorama view to the life of college students in the 1990s, "not just a love triangle", "I'd like to devote this film to everyone out there who had a similar youth... It's a memory shared by those who were born on the Chinese Mainland between the 1970s and early 80s." Zhao also bought the rights to Suede's song for the film.

Production on the film dates from March,3 to June,22 2012.


  • Theme song: "To Youth" ("?"??)
    • Composer: Dou Peng
    • Lyricist: Li Qiang
    • Performer: Faye Wong



Year Event Category Recipient(s) Result
2013 The 22nd Shanghai Film Critics Awards Best New Director Zhao Wei
Films of Merit
EntGroup Film Industry Awards Best Innovative Marketing Film
Best Production Placement Film

Critical response

After the premiere of the film in Beijing, it has gained favorable reviews from critics and audience, dubbed as a "matural directorial debut".

It has also gained positive reviews from English-language critics. Dereke Elley of Film Business Asia gave the film a 7 out of 10, describes the film as "an impressive directorial debut" and praised the film's "powerhouse first 90 minutes" as "that draw an involving portrait of love, friendship, ambition and broken dreams among a group of university students..." However, Elley criticized the last portion of the film, and states "as the film abruptly flashes forward several years to pick up the characters in the big city, all the dramatic credit accumulated to that point is squandered by a final 40 minutes that seem rushed and fabricated, with none of the earlier dramatic traction." Elley summoned up "As a two-part movie running some three hours, So Young could have been a truly epic portrait of youthful emotional errors and their later consequences. As it stands, it's a remarkable directorial debut by Zhao that's well acted by its ensemble cast but is more of an ambitious, great-looking torso than a single movie." Elley also sates "One can only hope that one day an extended Director's Cut of the film will eventually emerge on ancillary."

Maggie Lee of Variety described the film as an "accomplished directing debut" and "a lyrical ode to youth at its most fearless and foolhardy." Elizabeth Kerr of The Hollywood Reporter wrote "Anchored by an engaging performance by Yang Zishan in her first lead role, Zhao's film proves the actress turned director adept with images and actors." "The film's first 90 minutes make for a complete enough film that the bloated, soapy final 40 become a distraction from Zhao and Li's careful character construction earlier on. It's been rumored that Zhao's original cut clocked in at three hours, and so in that light the rushed, half-baked feel of the last act becomes clear. But even with more time the "adult" segment of the film feels out of place, tonally and stylistically. Thankfully Zhao makes the most of her cast, who carry the film farther than it has a right to go." Tay Huizhen of MovieXclusive (Singapore) gave the film a rating of 4.5/5.

Box Office

In mainland China, the film grossed 45 million yuan in the opening-day, and broke the opening-day box office record for a non-3D Chinese language film. The film also surpassed Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons in advanced sales according to online box office tabulation. The film went on to gross 141 million yuan in its opening weekend, and Zhao became the first Chinese female director to have a first feature film to gross over the 100 million yuan mark. Through May 5, its cume was $76.72M. In an interview, Zhao Wei said "I'm given box office figures every other day. I feel OK. I am very satisfied with what we've taken. You can't be too greedy."

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "So_Young_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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