Chàng trai năm ấy – A beautiful movie, or sad imitation of WanBi’s life ?

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Chàng trai năm ấy releases this week. I expect the English translation will be “That Guy” or “The Guy in That”. Which is how some fans feel about the release. It’s “That guy” to us. We were told a movie would be made based on the life of Wanbi Tuấn Anh this year. And a movie was. 

But is Chàng trai năm ấy WanBi’s story ? Is it his character ? No.

No is what the fans say, and no is what the author of WanBi’s biography, Bắt Đầu Từ Một Kết Thúc (“Start from the End”) says. Many fans across social media lambasted the choice of actor Sơn Tùng M-TP, saying he could not truly represent WanBi. Mr Lý Minh Tùng is quoted on Facebook as supporting the actor and the movie’s creation, but says that he is disappointed that it did not tell WanBi’s true story the way the script should have.

He said that at the premiere, Sơn Tùng fans were pleased with the movie and enjoyed it but fans who went to see the story of WanBi’s life left disappointed and saddened.

Is it an insult to Wanbi Tuấn Anh to use his story to create a movie which features a character attempting to look like him, but who does not represent WanBi’s real story and personality ? Maybe. Maybe in a way I’m happy that a movie was made. But I too am truly disappointed that this wasn’t actually the true life story of Wanbi Tuấn Anh, because my experience of his life, through stories I have been told, through his videos that I have watched and understood, and his TV appearances and biography by Lý Minh Tùng that I have not been able to fully understand with my limited Vietnamese language skills… is rich and interesting. But I want to know more. 

Reading old, translated news stories doesn’t bring WanBi to life like seeing him on the screen, and I’m thankful to have seen various performances and talks with him such as on Leo & U on Yan TV, so it’s a shame that we won’t be seeing his story told on the big screen. Not yet anyway. Not with this film. 

I’ll be going to see Chàng trai năm ấy.  But I know I’ll leave a little bit heartbroken, and not just because of the plot of the story.

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