Tiny Times (franchise)

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Tiny Times is a Chinese film series directed and written by Guo Jingming, all adapted from his novels. [1]

Guo Jingming is a Chinese young adult writer. Also known as Edward Guo. In addition to being an author and businessperson, Guo is also a teen pop idol and popular celebrity figure. On the other hand, Guo is a polarizing figure. In 2007, he was voted on Tianya.com, one of the country's biggest online forums, as China's "most hated male celebrity" for the third year in a row. Yet three of his four novels have sold over a million copies each, and by 2007, he was one of the best selling authors in China.


The first installment of the series based on the first novel was released on June 27, 2013. A sequel titled Tiny Times 2 , which was filmed together with the first film and based on the second half of the novel, was released on August 8, 2013. Tiny Times 3 , the third installment of the franchise was released on July 17, 2014. Tiny Times 4 , the fourth and last film of the series, was released on July 9, 2015. Though the series has received negative reviews from Chinese film critics, Tiny Times has become one of the most successful movie franchises, and has garnered many fans among young Chinese cinema-going audience.

<i>Tiny Times</i> 2013 Chinese romance drama film directed by Guo Jingming

Tiny Times, also known as Tiny Times 1.0 is the first installment of the film series written and directed by Guo Jingming and based on the best-selling novel of the same name also by Guo.

<i>Tiny Times 2</i> 2013 film by Guo Jingming

Tiny Times 2 is a 2013 Chinese romantic drama film and the second installment of the Tiny Times franchise directed and written by Guo Jingming. The film was filmed together with the first film, and is based on the second half of Guo's own novel. Tiny Times 3, the third installment of the Tiny Times series was released on July 17, 2014.

<i>Tiny Times 3</i> 2014 film by Guo Jingming

Tiny Times 3 is a 2014 Chinese romantic drama film and the third installment of the Tiny Times franchise directed and written by Guo Jingming. Filming started in Rome on December 10, 2013. The film released on July 17, 2014.


Central Cast

Lin Xiao Yang Mi (film)
Ivy Chen (TV)
The protagonist and narrator of the story. After graduating as a Chinese literary major, she becomes an editorial assistant at ME magazine. Described as a girl-next-door, Lin Xiao is meek and lacks confidence but displays loyalty to her friends.
She becomes involved with three men; high school sweetheart Li Yueming, colleague Zhou Chong Guang, and her workplace superior Gong Ming.
Gu Li (Lily) Amber Kuo (film)
Jiang Kaitong (TV)
A rich heiress who is also a capable business executive, holding double degrees in finance and accounting. Often referred to as "Queen" by her friends due to her cold exterior and commanding presence, Gu Li is strong-willed, level-headed and composed.
She was dating high school sweetheart Gu Yuan, until they are mercilessly separated by Gu Yuan's mother.
Nan Xiang Bea Hayden (film)
Andrea Chen (TV)
A talented and beautiful artist who comes from a modest background. She struggles with making ends meet to finance her graduate studies in fashion design, while at the same time dealing with her abusive ex-boyfriend, Xi Cheng.
Tang Wan Ru (Ruby) Evonne Hsieh (film)
Xu Dongmei (TV)
A national level badminton star who has a silly personality and is hopelessly romantic. She falls in love with fellow athlete Wei Hai and tries to capture his attention.

Main Cast

Gu Yuan Kai Ko (film)
Xu Yue (TV)
A rich and handsome heir of a business conglomerate. Although he is capable like his girlfriend Gu Li, he isn't as cold as her, and is more adept at handling people and relationships.
Zhou Chong Guang Cheney Chen (film)
Qiao Renliang (TV)
A talented but childish writer who writes articles for M.E. magazine. Though he has been neglected by his family since young, he is doted by his older brother, Gong Ming. He gradually falls in love with Lin Xiao as they work together, but a fatal illness prevents them from achieving their happy ending.
Lu Shao / Shaun Cheney Chen Zhou Chong Guang's new identity after he underwent extensive plastic surgery, as he faked death to avoid a financial crisis for his family. (**This character does not appear in the TV version)
Gong Ming Rhydian Vaughan (film)
Vivian Dawson (film)
Peter Ho (TV)
Chief editor of M.E. Magazine and Lin Xiao's boss. A cold man and sharp man with weird quirks. He has great affection toward his younger brother, Zhou Chong Guang.
Xi Cheng Jiang Chao (film)
Wu Diwen (TV)
Nan Xiang's abusive ex-boyfriend. He becomes depressed after his mother's suicide, causing him to walk on the wrong path.
Wei HaiCalvin Tu (film)
Jin Shijia (TV)
A fellow badminton player who has a bright and sunny disposition. He is Wan Ru's crush, but later gets together with Nan Xiang.

Supporting Cast

NeilLee Hyun-jae (film)
Yang Yang (TV)
Gu Li's flamboyant half-Chinese, half-white younger cousin. He often gets on Gu Li's nerves. He falls for Gu Li's younger brother, Gu Zhun.
Jian XiLi Yueming (film)
Li Yifeng (TV)
Lin Xiao's high school sweetheart. In the process of helping repay Lin Xiao's debt, he gets closer to Lin Quan, and cheats on her. He tries to earn Lin Xiao's forgiveness but backs off after noticing the relationship between Lin Xiao and Chong Guang.
Gu ZhunMing RenThe illegitimate younger brother of Gu Li, who later finds himself as Neil's object of affection.
(**This character does not appear in the TV version)
KittyKiwi Shang (film)
Zhang Yujie (TV)
Gong Ming's capable and snarky assistant.
Ye ChuanpingWang Lin (film)
Ma Rui (TV)
Gu Yuan's domineering and bossy mother, who attempted to foil Gu Li and Gu Yuan's relationship multiple times.
Lin QuanYolanda Yang (film)
Li Chun (TV)
The sister of a deceased victim, who has been forced into desperation by Gu Li and Lin Xiao and committed suicide. She comes to seek revenge against Gu Li and Lin Xiao, and steals Lin Xiao's boyfriend, Jian Xi away from her.
Yuan YiDing Qiaowei (film)
Zhang Teng (TV)
Gu Yuan's matchmaking partner.


Tiny Times 1.0

Tiny Times 2: Aurora's Generation

Tiny Times 3: Times of Gold Filigree

Tiny Times 4: Soul's End

Tiny Times Television Series

Critical reviews


The series has been slammed for its overt celebration of materialism.; [2] as well as the product placement of luxury brands in the films. [3] Film critic Raymond Chou said the film's message is "hinting to the young generation that you can do anything to win material goods because that’s how your value is determined." [4]

Product placement, also known as embedded marketing, is a marketing technique where references to specific brands or products are incorporated into another work, such as a film or television program, with specific promotional intent.

Depiction of women

The series has sparked controversy and debate over its depiction of women in the film. Though often compared with Sex and the City , critics argue the women in Tiny Times does not exhibit the same kind of fierceness and independence as their Western counterparts. [5] Critics have expressed their concerns that Shanghainese women in the film are portrayed as "vapid and shallow", setting backwards gender equality in China. [2]

<i>Sex and the City</i> American TV series

Sex and the City is an American romantic comedy-drama television series created by Darren Star and produced by HBO. Broadcast from 1998 until 2004, the original run of the show had a total of 94 episodes. Throughout its six-year run, the show received contributions from various producers, writers, and directors, principally Michael Patrick King.

At the same time, the series has been condemned for its portrayal of male narcissism. The Atlantic said that the films speak to "the male fantasy of a world of female yearnings, which revolve around men and the goods men are best equipped to deliver, whether materially or bodily. It betrays a twisted male narcissism and a male desire for patriarchal power and control over female bodies and emotions misconstrued as female longing; which is symptomatic of a society where the choices for women are severely limited." [6]

<i>The Atlantic</i> Magazine and multi-platform publisher based in Washington, D.C.

The Atlantic is an American magazine and multi-platform publisher. It was founded in 1857 in Boston, Massachusetts, as The Atlantic Monthly, a literary and cultural commentary magazine that published leading writers' commentary on the abolition of slavery, education, and other major issues in contemporary political affairs. Its founders included Francis H. Underwood and prominent writers Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Greenleaf Whittier. James Russell Lowell was its first editor. It was also known for publishing literary pieces by leading writers.


In spite of negative reviews, the series has garnered praises for its glossy cinematography and production value. [4]


The film has been criticized for the acting ability of the cast. [6] Lead actress Yang Mi has been nominated thrice (and won for all three times) at the Golden Broom Awards as the "Most Disappointing Actress" for her performance in Tiny Times franchise. [7]

Demographic changes in China has led to the production of similar teen films. [8] [4] Stephen Cremin of Film Business Asia said it is “the first high-profile film to appeal primarily to the generation born in the 1990s who’ve become the main moviegoing audience in China”. [4] Cremin compares the controversy to the first opening of McDonald's in China, which faced opposition from the older generation but was soon assimilated into China's ever-changing film landscape. [4]

Commercial success

Despite its negative reviews and criticism, the film has enjoyed commercial success. The first installment of the film breaks the opening-day box office record for a Chinese-language 2D release. [9] [10]

This is credited to its strong teenage and young adult fanbase, who are lured by the film's attractive stars and glamorous Shanghai setting. The People's Daily was critical of the film and said Guo had "cleverly gotten hold of his own target audience -- the vast teenage demographic." [11] Research conducted by the producers enables Guo to make commercial films that successfully cater to the new generation of young Chinese, who have Western-style values. [12] [13]

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Tiny Times may refer to:

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  1. "Film Review: 'Tiny Times'". Variety . 2013-07-17.
  2. 1 2 "Outrageous 'tiny' materialism". Global Times . 2013-07-18.
  3. "Tapping China's Luxury Market". US News.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Tiny Times: China's Sex and the City?". BBC News.
  5. "Tiny times in shiny Shanghai". China Daily .
  6. 1 2 "China's 'Sex and the City' Film Is a Great Leap Backward for Women". The Atlantic .
  7. "Tiny Times sweeps Golden Broom Awards". China Daily .
  8. "A Film-Fueled Culture Clash Over Values in China". The New York Times .
  9. "Tiny Times: "Me Generation" Film Breaks Chinese Box Office". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2017-02-26.
  10. "'Tiny Times' tops China's box office". China.org.cn. Retrieved 2017-02-26.
  11. Frater, Patrick (18 July 2013). "Tiny Times' Heeds The Call of The North American Market". Variety.
  12. "Chinese Hit 'Tiny Times' Taps Internet Generation Via Audience Research". The Hollywood Reporter .
  13. "China's Richest Writer Guo Jingming's Film Depicts a New China". Variety .