It is not common for Thai moviegoers to pay to see one movie over and over again. But it can sometimes happen with young audience and romantic films. It happened with Puttipong Promsaka na Nakorn and Wasin Pokpong’s A Crazy Little Thing Called Love. The film’s clever promo line “based on everyone’s true story” drew all generations to see this unrequited love story possibly shared by every female viewer. As a norm in Thailand, women are not supposed to court the men first. The gimmick worked. Moms and daughters went to see this movie together. Two or three repetitions were common. But surprisingly, it was a male viewer who went to see this movie up to 20 times — the highest record so far.
A junior schoolgirl Nam (Pimchanok Luevisetpaiboon) falls in love for her schoolboy senior Chone (Mario Maurer) but is afraid to show her feeling to him, partly because Chone is the everyone’s idol and Nam regards herself as unpopular, homely looking, and average. She has nothing that can make him notice her. It is her who always sneaks to see him during breaks, mornings, and afternoons. But with the support of her three best friends, Nam revolutionizes herself, starting with her looks and activities to get him to notice her. First, she auditions for the lead role in the Drama Club’s Sleeping Beauty in order to be close to Chone who joins the arts department. Later, she is asked to be the drum major of the school’s marching band. Gradually, boys start to notice her, even Chone’s best friend. But she remains focused on Chone. Finally, on Chone’s high school graduation, Nam decides to confess her love to him.
At first glance, A Crazy Little Thing Called Love looks like a puppy love movie that could be only attracted to young female audiences. Yet, it went unexpectedly big. Everything in the movie was kept at the minimum — natural performances like what happened in our daily lives. Even the famous female comedian Tukky Budprom tones her usual exaggerated performance to make us laugh without being over the top. The lead actor Mario Maurer has his best role since his acting debut in Chookiat Sakveerakul’s Love of Siam. The lead actress Pimchanok Luevisetpaiboon, who usually had the minor roles in previous works, came to light for the first time and proved herself as one of the rising stars of the next generation.
The setting was in a small town, not clearly specified in the movie (but the credit shows that it was in Ratchaburi Province). Every mise-en-scenes were controlled to portray the old, nice, heartwarming reminiscence. Life turns slow and a bit out-of-fashion over there. Happy family, good and warm teachers, nice school and fun activities. Boys and girls ride their own motorbikes to school. Boys give mangoes as presents to girls. They dance in a campfire. No internet, iPhone, Facebook or skateboards. If you expect something hyper-cool, ultra-technological, you cannot find it here. In fact, in my first impression, it is a country feel-good movie, opposite to GTH’s movies that are known as urban “feel-good.”
A Crazy Little Thing Called Love manifests an easygoing lifestyle that looks like everybody’s rest-taking time. It is a nostalgic experience for contemporary adults, perhaps as a reminder to their first love. And for young generation, it is something that is not too far-reaching.