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Better Days (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Better Days
Better Days poster.jpg
Mandarinshàonián dě nǐ
LiterallyThe Youthful You
Directed byDerek Tsang
Written by
  • Lam Wing Sum
  • Li Yuan
  • Xu Yimeng
Based onIn His Youth, In Her Beauty
by Jiu Yuexi
Produced byXu Yuezhen
CinematographyYu Jing-Pin
Edited byZhang Yibo
Music byVarqa Buehrer
  • Henan Film Group
  • China Wit Media
  • Tianijn Xiron Entertainment
  • We Pictures
  • Shooting Pictures
Distributed by
Release date
  • 25 October 2019 (2019-10-25)
Running time
135 minutes
Box officeUS$230.1 million[4]

Better Days (Chinese: 少年的你) is a 2019 Chinese romantic crime film directed by Derek Tsang and written by Lam Wing Sum, Li Yuan and Xu Yimeng.[5] Based on the Chinese young adult novel In His Youth, In Her Beauty (少年的你,如此美丽; literally "The Youthful You, So Beautiful") by Jiu Yuexi, the film stars Zhou Dongyu (Chinese: 周冬雨) and Jackson Yee (Chinese: 易烊千玺), and follows a high school girl struggling with severe bullying and the pressure of upcoming college entrance exams, whose life becomes intertwined with that of a teenage street thug.[6]

Better Days was released on 25 October 2019 in China and on 8 November 2019 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. One of the most highly anticipated Chinese films in 2019 due to its leads Zhou Dongyu and Jackson Yee's immense popularity, the film became a pop culture phenomenon in China as well as a box office hit, grossing a total of US$230.1 million.[7][8][9] A critical success, the film was chosen as the official entry for Hong Kong for Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards; it became the third Hong Kong entry in history to achieve the nomination (27 years after Farewell My Concubine, the second), and was the first nominated entry directed by a Hong Kong native rather than by a Mainland Chinese director.[10][11]


After her classmate, Hu Xiaodie, commits suicide because of school bullying, Chen Nian finds herself the new victim of "queen bee" and vicious school bully Wei Lai and her friends. Chen Nian also sees a teenage thug, Liu Beishan, aka "Xiao Bei", being beaten in the streets by rival thugs. She attempts to call the police but is seen and attacked by the thugs as well. The attackers mock her trying to save Xiao Bei and beat both of them until they finally get Chen Nian to kiss Xiao Bei as a way to humiliate them.

Meanwhile, Chen Nian’s school bullies continue to grow fiercer, physically attacking Chen Nian and spreading rumors about her family. After one encounter, where Chen Nian tries to stand up to the bullies, she is brutally pushed down the stairs in front of many other students at school.

Police detectives Zheng Ye and Lao Yang investigate Hu Xiaodie’s death, and while interviewing Wei Lai, make it known that Chen Nian has reported being bullied by Wei Lai. Wei Lai and her friends are all suspended from school as a result and eventually had an even stronger vendetta against Chen Nian. Throughout this time, Chen Nian continues to go to school and prepare for the college entrance exam; however, she gets cornered on her way home from school by the three expelled bullies who chase her with box cutters and a cage of rats. Having nowhere else to go, Chen Nian goes to Xiao Bei’s house and asks him to protect her while she continues studying for and eventually takes the college entrance exam. He agrees and follows her to and from school each day. During this time, Chen Nian and Xiao Bei spend lot of time together and become very close. Chen Nian starts to show concern for Xiao Bei, and he opens up about his past.

Xiao Bei is picked to be in a line up and gets stuck at the police station nearly all night. Without his protection, Chen Nian is caught by the bullies who cut her hair, beat, and strip her, all the while filming her. When Xiao Bei is finally allowed to leave the police station, he runs home to see a bleeding Chen Nian on the floor taping her assignments together with her clothes in tatters and her hair cut. He helps her shave her head and then shaves his too.

The exam draws near and Chen Nian returns to school. On the day of the exam there is heavy rain that causes a landslide. In clearing out the landslide, a man discovers a body. The body is later found to be Wei Lai. After the first day of the two-day college entrance exam, the police bring Chen Nian in for questioning as the main suspect for Wei Lai’s murder. The detectives ask her why she didn’t come to them after the video of her was filmed and she states that she didn’t want anything to affect her studying. She simply wanted to take the exam and move away to Beijing for college.

Chen Nian is escorted by the police to return and finish the exam the next day. On her way home, Xiao Bei grabs her and they run. He explains that the only way for her to continue with her life and go to college is if he takes the blame for Wei Lai's death by saying he assaulted her and accidentally killed her in the process. When Chen Nian reluctantly agrees, he acts like he is assaulting her and the police catch him.

There is a flash back to a scene of Wei Lai begging Chen Nian to not report the video event to the police. Wei Lai offers Chen Nian anything that she could ask for, so long as Chen Nian keeps quiet. Chen Nian tells her that if she never has to see Wei Lai again then she will stay quiet. Wei Lai continues to pester and follow Chen Nian until Chen Nian pushes her in anger. Wei Lai falls down several flights of stairs, hitting her head and dying. In the present, Chen Nian and Xiao Bei both interrogated but stick to the story that the only time they had met was when Xiao Bei attacked Chen Nian.

After Chen Nian gets her score back for the college entrance exam, one of the detectives comes to her house and tells her that Xiao Bei had lied about being a minor and had been sentenced to death. Distraught, Chen Nian admits to her part in the crime. The detective then reveals that he was lying to her to get her to admit to the crime because the sentence would be lighter for both of them. The detective then takes her to see Xiao Bei and they agree to take the lighter sentences, and both go to jail.

A final scene taking place a few years later shows Chen Nian as a teacher who notices a child who looks distressed. Chen Nian approaches the girl and they walk home together, followed closely by Xiao Bei. Before the credits roll there are a few screens explaining the policies that the Chinese government has enacted since the event to prevent bullying in schools and deal stricter punishment to school bullies. There is a final plea for everyone to be aware and take responsibility for youth and their safety.


  • Zhou Dongyu as Chen Nian. The female protagonist, a 12th grader who gets bullied by a group of girls led by Wei Lai after being interrogated by the police regarding Hu Xiaodie's suicide. She later becomes close to Xiao Bei, insisting on making their future better together.
  • Jackson Yee as Liu Beishan (aka "Xiao Bei"). The male protagonist who starts off as a street thug but ends up protecting Chen Nian from bullies and falling in love with her in their later encounters. He also takes the blame for several crimes in order to free Chen Nian of criminal charges.
  • Yin Fang as Zheng Ye. A young police detective who plays a major role in finding out the bullies and tries to help Chen Nian.
  • Huang Jue as Lao Yang. A member of the police department, who is like a mentor to Zheng Ye and provides him advices.
  • Wu Yue as Chen Nian's mother. She is a single mother, who used to sell beauty products which caused skin damage since she didn’t have any other choice in order to save money for her and her daughter’s future.
  • Zhou Ye as Wei Lai. The pretty and "sweet" popular girl hailing from a rich family and the main bully who had led Hu Xiaodie to her death and wanted Chen Nian to commit suicide by doing wrong to her.
  • Zhang Xinyi as Xu Miao. A bystander who used to help Wei Lai in bullying to avoid experiencing it on herself, later takes Chen Nian’s help.
  • Wu Yue as Zhou Lei. The bystander who used to do most of the hurting to the victims on Wei Lei’s command.
  • Liu Ran as Luo Ting.
  • Xie Xintong as Wang Li. A member of the police department, used to have a negative opinion on Chen Nian, later accepting Zheng Ye’s opinion.
  • Zhang Yao as Li Xiang
  • Zhang Yifan as Hu Xiaodie. The victim who used to get bullied by Wei Lei and her friends. She had jumped off from the highest story of the school and committed suicide.
  • Zhao Runnan as Da Kang
  • Gao Xuanming as Lai Zi. A fellow victim along with Chen Nian who used to try and cheer her up by reminding her of the dreams she had set on reaching Beijing after the examination.
  • Luo Junlin
  • He Liao Lüyun


Music with lyrics

1."We are Well (我们很好)" (Opening theme)Ge DaweiJJ LinJJ Lin4:28
2."Thoughts (念想)" (Interlude)Wang ZiWang ZiJackson Yee4:13
3."Fly" (Ending theme)Ellen Joyce Loo, Wu Tsing-fongEllen Joyce LooYoyo Sham3:52

Instrumental music

1."Better Days (少年的你)"1:10
2."Wild Animals (野兽)"2:00
3."Examination (高考)"1:51
4."A Promise (一个约定)"4:15
5."Class Photo (毕业照)"3:40
6."A Good Person (好人)"1:16
7."Let Me Go (让我走)"3:46
8."You Owe Me Once (欠我一次)"4:52
9."A Drop in the Ocean (汪洋一滴)"2:19
10."Torn to Shreds (破碎)"2:40


Better Days is adapted from Jiu Yuexi's novel In His Youth, In Her Beauty (少年的你,如此美丽; the novel was also translated as Young and Beautiful by some sources).[12][13]

Production started in July 2018 and ended on September 10, 2018.[14] Most of the film was shot on location in Chongqing.[15]


Better Days was released on October 25, 2019, in China. It was released by Well Go USA Entertainment in Mandarin with English subtitles in selected theaters in the United States and Canada.[16]

The film was pulled from the Berlin festival's Generation section.[17][18][19]

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 96% based on reviews from 26 critics, with an average rating of 8.2/10.[20] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 83 out of 100 based on 5 critic reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[21] The film also received a rating of 8.4/10 on Chinese film rating cite Douban and a 9.4/10 score on Chinese ticketing site Maoyan.[22][23][24]

Cary Darling of the Houston Chronicle stated in 2019 that it was "one of the best films of the year" and that it "deserves a wide audience".[25]

Box office

Better Days grossed more than US$80 million dollars on its opening weekend in China. The film grossed more than 1.29 billion yuan (about 184 million U.S. dollars) in only 15 days in China.[16]


The film won the Snow Leopard Special Jury Award at the 6th Asian World Film Festival in Los Angeles in March 2021.[26]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Notes
2020 26th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Award Best Film Better Days Nominated
Recommended Film Award Won
Best Screenplay Lam Wing Sum, Li Yuan, Xu Yimeng Nominated
Best Actor Jackson Yee Nominated
Best Actress Zhou Dongyu Nominated
Best Director Derek Tsang Won
39th Hong Kong Film Awards Best Director Won
Best Film Better Days Won
Best Actor Jackson Yee Nominated
Best New Performer Won
Best Actress Zhou Dongyu Won
Best Cinematography Yu Jing-Pin Won
Best Editing Zhang Yibo Nominated
Best Art Direction Liang Honghu Nominated
Best Costume Make Up Design Dora Ng Won
Best Original Film Song "Fly" Won
Best Original Film Score Varqa Buehrer Nominated
Best Screenplay Lam Wing Sum, Li Yuan, Xu Yimeng Won
35th Hundred Flower Awards Best Actress Zhou Dongyu Won
Best Newcomer Jackson Yee Won
Best Film Better Days Nominated
Best Director Derek Tsang Nominated
Best Screenplay Lam Wing Sum, Li Yuan, Xu Yimeng Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Wu Yue Nominated
Far East Film Festival Golden Mulberry Better Days Won
Black Mulberry Won
33rd Golden Rooster Awards Best Actress Zhou Dongyu Won
Best Editing Zhang Yibo Won
Best Film Better Days Nominated
Best Director Derek Tsang Nominated
Best Screenplay Lam Wing Sum, Li Yuan, Xu Yimeng Nominated
Best Actor Jackson Yee Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Huang Jue Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Zhou Ye Nominated
Best Cinematography Yu Jing-Pin Nominated
Best Music Varqa Buehrer Nominated
Best Sound Huang Zhen Nominated
93rd Academy Awards Best International Feature Film Derek Tsang Nominated
15th Osaka Asian Film Festival Audience Award Better Days Won

See also


  1. ^ "'Better Days': Film Review". Variety. December 2, 2019. Production: (China)
  2. ^ "'Better Days': Review". Screen International. 29 October 2019.
  3. ^ "LUMIERE : Film #84081 : Better Days". European Audiovisual Observatory. Producing or Co-producing country: CN
  4. ^ "Better Days (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  5. ^ Kilian O’Donnell; David Paulk (24 October 2019). "Long-Delayed Film 'Better Days' Gets Surprise Release in China". Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  6. ^ Rebecca Davis (28 October 2019). "China Box Office: 'Better Days' Steps Out as World's Top-Grossing Film". Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "周冬雨《少年的你》密钥延期至12月8日 票房已破15亿元 2019票房榜国产片第八名 – Mtime时光网". Retrieved 2020-02-02.
  10. ^ Frater, Patrick (27 November 2020). "Hong Kong Picks 'Better Days' as Oscars Contender". Variety. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  11. ^ Davis, Clayton (9 February 2021). "Oscars Shortlists Announced in Nine Categories". Variety. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  12. ^ "Movie helps raise awareness of school bullying in China". Archived from the original on 2019-11-06.
  13. ^ Yan Shanshan (严珊珊) (5 November 2019). 《少年的你》原著作者玖月晞否认抄袭融梗:或许有共通的思考. (in Chinese). Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  14. ^ vivicky li (10 September 2018). 一线 《少年的你》杀青 易烊千玺称“少年无惧”. (in Chinese). Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  15. ^ 《少年的你》陈念家成网红景点 外地游客前往打卡. sina (in Chinese). 3 November 2019. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Chinese youth drama film "Better Days" hits big screen in North America". xinhuanet. 9 November 2019. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  17. ^ Patrick Frater (4 February 2019). "Chinese Pic 'Better Days' is Yanked From Berlin Film Festival". Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  18. ^ Cary Darling (5 November 2019). "Review: 'Better Days' escaped Chinese censorship to become one of year's best films". Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  19. ^ "Film Set in China's Cultural Revolution Is Pulled From the Berlin festival's Generation section". 3 February 2019. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  20. ^ "Better Days (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  21. ^ "Better Days Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  22. ^ 顾馨. "Better Days expected to soar to blockbuster status". Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  23. ^ "少年的你 (豆瓣)". Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  24. ^ "【开腔】关于《少年的你》,易烊千玺说最难拍的是……-中新网". Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  25. ^ Darling, Cary (2019-11-06). "The Chinese government didn't want you to see 'Better Days.' Here's why you should". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  26. ^ Leiber, Sarah Jae (17 March 2021). "6th Annual Asian World Film Festival Announces Winners". Broadway World. Retrieved 6 September 2021.

External links

This page was last edited on 7 October 2021, at 22:43
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