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Beijing Love Story Believes in Love at First Sight

Yet another romantic dramedy whose worldview is wholly informed by other movies

<I>Beijing Love Story</I> Believes in Love at First Sight
China Lion Film Distribution

Beijing Love Story believes in love at first sight. It also believes in grand declarations of that love and the idea that there's no scene that wouldn't be improved by blurry slow-motion and winsome music, which is another way of saying it's yet another romantic dramedy whose worldview is wholly informed by other movies rather than by anything resembling real life (or, perish the thought, a unique conception of what it means to be in love).

So far removed from any original signal — there are several direct references to Titanic, so it's timely, too — this nuance-free affair registers as little more than noise.

Our ostensible hero meets, impregnates, and proposes marriage to a woman within the first 10 minutes of the film; one of his friends angrily refers to his unfaithful wife a "slutty ho bag"; and the third member of the gang's wife returns to him even after receiving definitive proof of his serial philandering.

Location Info

Map

AMC Empire 25

234 W. 42nd St.
New York, NY 10036

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: West 40s

Details

Beijing Love Story
Directed by Chen Sicheng
China Lion
Opens February 14, AMC Empire 25



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That these three prove so unlikable is ultimately less of a problem (on a storytelling level, at least) than how impossible it is to credit them or the rest of the characters as real people.

Writer-director Chen Sicheng pays lip service to the idea of the marital bond trumping all difficulties, but more often than not it's the woman who ends up sacrificing and settling. In each instance, the implications are as clear as they are retrograde.

 
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4 comments
ywang20082003
ywang20082003

The writer/director tries to convey the following idea: The most romantic love is the every day companionship that lasts a whole life time. Love can be easy for a while yet it's difficult for a life time. The "Couple" in this great movie go through 5 stages of love and manage to reach the end. It's one of the best Chinese movie I've ever seen!

dlat9664
dlat9664

This review is borderline racist and sexist. It's basic assumption is that nothing over the long course of Chinese history is relevant to film making. Ah! so all ideas are American and less than twenty years old? Let's just ignore thousands of years of storytelling. At the very least, the reviewer could accept at face value that out of the twenty million Beijingers, there may be a few interesting characters and a few different ways in which love is experienced, from the naive, to the gamers, to the idealistic and to the routine. Incomprehensible to the limited and staid American experience, Beijing is undergoing unprecedented transformation and social pressure is felt at all levels of society. 


There are women in this story who sacrifice for love, as in real life. It's rather sexist to complain that men are not depicted in a typical Hollywood heroic fashion. This review makes many other wrong assumptions. In fact, there is no romantic hero in this story. How could a ordinary guy who gets drunk, makes a fool of himself, punches someone and loses the fight and is terribly naive be considered a hero? The first chapter is about a love does defies common sense, as everyone else points out. This not so "ostensible hero" is just one of eleven originally crafted characters with a level so depth that some reviewers can only perceive it as "noise". There is no noise in this film. If anything, it is densely packed with angles and perspectives on relationships and social issues that will certainly resonate with couples and those looking for love, from everywhere.


Finally, this is cinema at it's technical best. Beijing has never looked more glamorous, from the historic sights, the neighborhood houtongs and the modern marvels. But more impressive is the light shining on the actors, which helps us pick up every nuanced expression of this highly talented ensemble cast. By the end of the last story, there was not a dry eye in the audience.

keneisner
keneisner

@dlat9664 I liked the movie, too—especially for the technical aspects you mentioned. And the fact that there was so much talent involved. Still, it's hard to see how this review merits your accusations. He didn't buy the stories themselves, and that's a pretty subjective thing. But there's nothing in there that belittles Beijingers or the Chinese movie industry.

dlat9664
dlat9664

Indeed, he didn't buy the stories themselves and wrote "whose worldview is wholly informed by other movies." I suspect it's because there's a China stereotype going on.

 

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