Fangirl Movie Review: Shining for One Thing

Way back in 2022 (what?? It’s 2024. I can say that!), an amazing time travel romance drama hit iQIYI. Shining for One Thing was filled with self-discovery and longing and the best kind of angst. Karlina Zhang and Qu Chu Xiao turned in memorable performances, so I was HIGHLY intrigued when I heard a movie version was coming to theaters. Come see if I thought the experience was worth the time!

(Drama Geek wrote an excellent post on Shining for One Thing the drama — check it out HERE.)

In the drama, the focus is on 30-year-old Lin Bei Xing as she travels back in time to her senior year. Gradually she learns why she’s been sent back and what she must do. There were mysteries to solve, old friends to see in new ways, and a love she didn’t know she had waiting for her.

What the movie does BRILLIANTLY is shift the focus to Zhang Wan Sen, the male lead who is heart-rendingly sweet and shy. We’re launched right into his high school life, and when he does jump back, it’s only a few months instead of a decade. This shift in perspective and tightening of the timeline make the story feel fresh instead of a re-tread over familiar ground. Unnecessary side characters were cut, though fan favorites Gao Ge and Maizi remained in the movie. To anyone who hasn’t watched the drama, their side story will seem criminally short, but it felt more like fan service to me.

Can you understand the movie without having seen the drama? Absolutely, and the ending is very satisfying. For those of us who HAVE seen the drama, there’s an in-credit scene that resolves what the drama left open, and it made me SO HAPPY.

I give Shining for One Thing 9.5/10 stars. The rules for jumping were a little unclear, but in the face of the profound connection between the two leads, it really didn’t matter. I’ll happily watch this one again when it comes to a streaming platform.

Until the next cinematic resolution, I remain —

Karie the Maknae

Dramas with a Side of Kimchi

4 thoughts on “Fangirl Movie Review: Shining for One Thing

  1. Ahhh! So envious that you’ve seen the movie already!! Thanks for the heads-up tho – this is what sent me on a hunt for a release date for us here in Singapore. Also, glad to hear that it’s great, because I’ve only been waiting for the movie for what feels like foreverrr 😅

  2. I’m so pleased you loved it too. So many feels! Plus it made me think but not to the point that my head hurt (I’m looking at you, Someday or One Day: the movie).

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