Welcome to Queer Fudanshi. Let’s talk. In this post we’re going to to talk about I Love You As A Man, the Uncut Version.
I Love You As A Man is the first in a two part Chinese film/web series series titled Like Love. The film, which is based off of a novel, was released in 2014. In addition, it was directed by Chen Peng and stars Huang Li Ge and Kong Korn.
The story follows university student Mai Ding. Mai Ding finds himself in an interesting situation. He’s asked to find out if the man living in the dorm next to him, An Zi Yan, is attracted to men. An Zi Yan answers yes, and interested in broadening his horizons, Mai Ding decides to befriend him. It seem though that their relationship quickly changes from platonic to romantic.
My Thoughts Before Watching
I’ve seen this movie before, but it was about a year ago. I’m actually really looking forward to watching it and seeing how it holds up in it’s second viewing. Mind you, I barely remember anything from this story, so it’ll be like I’m watching this film all over again. Let’s get started.
This is I Love You As A Man, the Uncut Version*.
*Warning: The Uncut Version is an extended film with more scenes that build the plot and story. That said, there is a pretty intense sex scene that comes with this extended version. As such, this post has a NSFW tag.
The Talk (Spoilers Ahead):
First, I have to talk about how this uncut version is VERY long. I got through up to the first sex scene before I realized that this is a three hour and twenty minute long movie.
Honestly, this movie is kind of draining if you watch it all in one go. Apparently, at one point this film was distributed online in segments. I would almost prefer that version, as watching the whole thing is one 3 hour blast is a little tiring. In fact, as I was watching the film I started thinking, “Yeah, this is better as a series. It’s really way too long as a movie.”
When I eventually get around to posting about the sequel to this movie I have to make sure to take it in parts. When I watched this movie at around the two hour mark I was like, “Oh my god, there’s more?” Eventually, I got my second wind, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking this movie is especially long.
Ah, beautiful, beautiful Mai Ding. At the start of the film I thought that Mai Ding was such an oddity. I wondered why he didn’t tell his friend and roommate Lee Ming (or Li Ming, but I’ll be referring him as Lee) that Zi Yan was bi. I thought that perhaps this was to protect Mai Ding’s new found interest and friend, or to keep the secret between them so that Mai Ding could get closer to him. Those are two different scenarios, so I wonder which one is more correct.
Then, I thought that the curious Mai Ding could either be considered incredibly intrusive and annoying or as cute and endearing. I’m sure it’s really Zi Yan who had to decide which it was.
What is for sure is that Mai Ding is very energetic. In addition, Mai Ding is an absolutely wonderful and fun character to watch. Watching him in the movie scene was hilarious. I thought for a moment, “what movie can give you that many emotions in five minutes?” It became obvious halfway through however that he was purposefully messing with Zi Yan.
At the same time, Mai Ding’s kind of high maintenance and selfish. I understand he’s in love and in a relationship, so he wants to spend as much time as possible with Zi Yan. But at the same time, he does ask for a lot from the guy. That said, Zi Yan was willing to give him everything. Isn’t that the perfect rich guy romance setup?
That said, Mai Ding did do some things as he was such a great househusband. He cooked, he furnished the house, and so on. In addition, Mai Ding got the best line in the movie. “Don’t flirt with me, I am no longer straight.”
As for Zi Yan, I find him interesting because of how much he grew on me later in the movie. At first, while it was fun to watch Mai Ding, Zi Yan was kind of boring. He’s the hot, rich quiet guy. He works wonders when displayed against the energetic Mai Ding and they become a wonderful odd couple. That said, when he’s alone Zi Yan isn’t much of a watch.
This isn’t the fault of the actor or maybe even the writing overall. Really, as soon as the original author chose to make Zi Yan fit that character archetype he was destined to not be as appealing as Mai Ding. That said, this is once again my thoughts and opinions. I’m sure there are people out there who prefer Zi Yan over Mai Ding as an interesting character. If so, make sure to let me know down in the comments below.
In addition, the Zi Yan character became more entertaining after the two became a couple. He was more playful, and while his character was still the dark, serious type there was more of a playful person behind that persona. Plus, he spoke more.
What’s interesting about Zi Yan was that he really did grow and become more throughout the movie. Not only did his personality blossom a bit, but also his world and backstory grew as well. The addition of his family and Xiaosi made him seem like a more interesting character over all. While Mai Ding more selfish as the movie went on, Zi Yan blossomed and became more giving in both emotion and money.
Ultimately, I like the two as a couple. Mai Ding’s hyper energeticness matches well with Zi Yan’s subdued calmness. Plus, the two have a nice back and forth that was heightened when Zi Yan started talking more. In addition, after the couple got together there was this long, sweet period. At that point everything was just so domestic and nice. Going on dates, having driving lessons, etc.
Of course the story went into melodrama about saying I love you, but luckily it didn’t last very long. I do have to say that I’m surprised Mai Ding accepted Zi Yan’s half-assed, knock confession. Of course, it was in style with the character. We can’t really have asked for more.
Also, before they got together there was the whole reflecting feelings and pushing each away bit. Honestly, as lover of romance stories I should have found that boring and overdone, but I fell for it hook line and sinker. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one falling for it as Mai Ding fell too. It was obvious Zi Yan was pushing Mai Ding away for his own sake, but neither of us could fight off the impulse to go with it.
Lastly, the sex scenes. Whenever there are sex scenes in the live action media that I share here I always think of congratulating the actors for committing. For instance, good for Kong Korn for being daring and trusting enough to go full on naked for his role. There was no frontal nudity of course, but I still have to applaud him no matter what. It’s the same for both actors really. They really went all out in the sex scenes, and good for them for doing it.
The Other Actors and Characters
As I said in my Hanging Out Episode 1 post, I love when the LGBTQ characters are surrounded by accepting loved ones. This story is just like that. I always when a female character enters a BL story and acts like the couple’s best friend. Because of this, I enjoyed the inclusion of the Xiaosi character. Also, I appreciated Lee Ming who was supportive of Mai Ding throughout the movie.
Speaking of Lee Ming, the explanation of the Mai Ding setup was very fast. I almost feel sorry for the Lee Ming’s actor who had to memorize it all and then learn to recite it as breakneck speed. And while we’re talking about good acting, props go out to the two female extras in the one scene in Mai Ding was listening in on their conversation. I thought the scene was well done, and that the extras delivered it well.
Lastly, I love Mai Ding’s mother. She was sweet and loving, over protective, and aggressive when need be. My only thing is that Mai Ding’s parents kept saying that they want grandchildren. Mai Ding was 17 at the start of this movie and possibly 18 at the end of it. Don’t get me wrong, I realized people get married and have kids at all kinds of ages, but I feel like Mai Ding’s parents need to realize who they’re talking to. Mai Ding is nowhere near having kids, even if he was dating a girl.
I also have to speak on some other topics from the movie such as some of the directorial choices and tech aspects.
First, the intro was weird. I wonder why they chose the green screen. I mean, it did properly introduce the main character Mai Ding, but it was a little off putting. This film in general had a few tech choices that seemed off such as the gym underwear scene. I feel they chose animation to portray this scene they couldn’t have accurately coordinate otherwise. Or, perhaps it was to save time in an already fast paced and overstuffed storyline.
That said, there were some nice choices in the movie such as the music selections. “Pretty Woman?” A Chinese version of “Mamma Mia?” Lauren Hill? I get down with this film’s soundtrack.
Also, at the start of the film I could clearly see that this was a low budget production. From the low extra count, the same people went down and up the stair at one point, to small set count. That said, that’s most likely because the producers knew what was coming, so they prepared and kept costs low for the university section and then paid up later on. I mean, the cars and the sister’s clothing probably cost a lot on their own.
Now, I have a question for those who are more knowledgeable about Chinese culture, can you tell me if military training is a common thing for Chinese university students in real life? At American universities we don’t have such a thing for general studies. It’s a specified field called ROTC. Let me know.
Lastly, the film had a very sudden ending. Of course, this was because a sequel was planned, but it would have been nice if the movie had ended a little better.
This movie is so long that it has basically everything in it. The falling in love, the little fights, the steamy sex scenes, the doting family, the disapproving family, the supportive friends, the love rivals attempting to break the couple up, and the eventual makeup.
This is a classic romance movie for romantics. It’s got all the tropes and expectations from a romance. That said, it’s a good one that I certainly was falling for. I was eating it up like Mai Ding ate popcorn. Though, if I ever watch it again I’ll watch it in segments.
My rating for I Love You As A Man (the Uncut Version) is 5 stars out of 5. What’s Yours?