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31 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
The highs and lows of inter-racial relationships., 5 August 2005

My wife and I rented this movie because we are so fascinated by films that explore the various issues involved in inter-racial relationships. I am Chinese, and my wife Indian, and it was quite a tumultuous journey from the day we met to the day that we exchanged our wedding vows. Seeing movies like this always brings us a strong feeling of nostalgia.

A Fond Kiss is the love story between Casim, a young Pakistani man, and Roisin, a young Catholic woman, with the backdrop being modern day Scotland. Much of the plot revolve around the Casim's family dynamics, which is a rather modern Muslim household. We are not given much about Roisin's family, but the director gives us a rather bitter depiction of fundamental Catholic dogma. Despite the predictable problems that arise, the story is accompanied by a strong performance from the entire cast, and the use of common Hollywood love-story gimmicks are refreshingly absent from the plot.

I must note that the performance by Casim's father was especially moving for me; you want to judge him quickly for his hypocrisy and bigotry, but soon feel for his predicament. The antagonism he has for "love" marriages arise from his responsibility to love and protect his family, and his tribulations in the past have made him weary of foreigners. I am reminded of the problems I have had with my father-in-law; for the longest time I hated him so much, but only now I see that he's one of the most caring and loving individuals I have ever known, and any problems he gave me was simply his way of testing my devotion to what matters most to him, his daughter and family.

The ending scenes were also beautifully woven together. There are no ridiculous chase scenes or over-exaggerated dialogues. The people who ultimately decide their fates are themselves. It is Casim and Roisin who must determine what their destinies are, and this non-fatalistic scenario is often the case in real life. I know, from my culture as well as my wife's, that in many cases, marriages are arranged, and sometimes forced. Though I try not to make any judgements, I am glad that I live in a society where I still get to choose my partner in life.

A fun filled journey with enjoyable twists and turns., 27 July 2005

When I first saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory some unknown years ago, I was convinced that no other movie would ever take me into the world of fantasy and magic the way that movie did. Of course, as I grew older and saw more movies, I would be convinced several times more, by movies such as The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings, and Big Fish just to name a few. Nevertheless, Willy Wonka always held a special place in my movie memories. That being said, I went into the theaters last week to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with great anticipation, if not trepidation.

I found myself pleasantly surprised as the ending credits rolled. Though I never read the book or any literature concerning this story, I understand that it was suppose to be more true to the book. Regardless, this movie explored many aspects of the characters, including Willy Wonka himself, in ways that the first movie never did. That said, many questions that I (as well as many others) had concerning the first movie was answered in Tim Burton's version. There are also several interesting twists toward the end of the movie, all leading up to a rather satisfying conclusion.

My few criticisms about this movie concern more about the acting than the story. First, despite a strong performance by Freddie Highmore (Charlie), he was never as convincing as Peter Ostrum (the original Charlie). Ostrum was able to portray himself as a genuinely good kid, but at the same time depict realistic childhood behaviors, such as when he stole some of the fizzy pop. I felt that Highmore's Charlie was a bit too forced at points in the movie. Gene Wilder's performance was also better in my opinion, maybe because he showed a bit more humanity and love for his work, his oompa loompas, and Charlie himself. I know this may be different than what the original author intended, and Depp may have played the role the way it was suppose to be played, but nonetheless, he came off alien and disconnected at various times in the movie.

Despite all that, this is a must see for everyone who was a fan of the original, and a must see for those with an imagination as big as their appetites for chocolate.