The Road Home (1999) Poster

(1999)

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10/10
Asian beauty!
lysthuset3 September 2005
In my country you can "rent" DVD and VHS movies for free at the local libraries. One day I visited my local library and picked out a few random dvds and went home to have a movie marathon-weekend. One of these dvds was "The Road Home". By looking at the cover, I didn't think this was a movie for me, but anyhow I started watching it late at night. After the first few minutes had passed I thought it looked like a pretty boring movie. The first scenes are shot in black and white from a snow covered little village somewhere in the Chinese wilderness... I quickly decided to turn it off and hit the bed. The next day I had little to do. The weather outside was crap so I decided to stay in. I got bored and had nothing to do so I reluctantly started watching "The Road Home" from where I left off... This is probably one of the best things I've done so far in my life ;-) Since that day I've bought the DVD and seen the movies about 4-5 times and it's simply one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen (and I've seen a few!)... To give you an idea: I persuaded two of my best friends to join me watching the movie. They didn't have high expectations as this is as far from the Hollywood action they normally favourise when going to rent a movie. They are men in their 30's and one of them is a pretty "macho" guy. When the end-titles started scrolling, both of them had to wipe their eyes :-))) They where actually crying! I guess this is more of a story than a movie review, but I hope it's enough to give this movie the attention it deserves ;-)
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10/10
An Artistic and Emotional Triumph (10/10)
jhclues17 October 2002
How often do we wonder, or take the time to reflect upon, how it is that we came to be where we are? How much do we know of what went before us; or more specifically, of the past that directly affected who and what we are today. Moreover, is it important, or anything we need to know or should? How significant, really, is our past in relation to the present? According to director Yimou Zhang, these questions are not only valid but of paramount importance, which he aptly illustrates in his lyrically beautiful film, `The Road Home,' written for the screen by Shi Bao, adapted from his own novel, `Remembrance.' Without question, at the heart of the film is a monumental yet simple story of true love in the purest sense, and of the devotion which renders that love eternal. But the film transcends even that, and within the greater context indicates the impact of the past upon the present, which is summed up in a single line from the film: `Know the past, know the present.' And know, too, that the love portrayed in this story is the kind of love that is abiding, and that which sustains all that makes life worth living. It's a veritable journey of the soul; one that will touch you deeply and linger in your memory long after the screen has gone dark.

Upon receiving the news that his father has died, Luo Yusheng (Honglei Sun) leaves the city to return to his home, a small village in the mountains, to bury his father and comfort his bereaved mother, Zhao Di (Yulian Zhao). When he arrives, however, he discovers that his mother will not be consoled until her wish concerning the burial of her husband, Luo Changyu (Hao Zheng) is fulfilled. In keeping with a long standing tradition and superstition, Di insists that his coffin be carried by hand by the men of the village along the road connecting the village and the city, insuring by so doing that in death Changyu will always be able to remember his way home.

Yusheng quickly finds that realizing his mother's request will be no easy task; their village is small and all of the able-bodied men have left for the city, leaving only children and those too old for such an arduous undertaking. And it is winter, a harsh time of year in the mountains. But Di is adamant, and so Yusheng sets about the business of fulfilling her request. And as he does so, he reflects upon the story of his parents; a story well known throughout the village, for theirs was a love that was unbridled and boundless, the likes of which no one in the village had ever know before. Or since.

This film, so wonderfully crafted and delivered by director Zhang, is altogether ethereal and transporting; he tells the story in simplistic terms, and yet it is in that very simplicity that he finds the genuine honesty and truth that provides such an emotional impact and makes this love story one that rivals any the screen has ever known. Aided by the masterful cinematography of Yong Hou, Zhang achieves that same sense of transcendence that defines much of Akira Kurosawa's films, such as `Ran' and `Akira Kurosawa's Dreams,' or Ang Lee's `Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.' There is not a superfluous moment in the entire film, and Zhang proves that capturing pure emotion with the camera can express more than pages of dialogue recited by an actor. And with his lens, Zhang opens up the very heart of the film and lays it bare for all to see and feel, finding more in the eyes of his characters and in their expressions than words could ever convey. It's a study of human nature that is disarming in it's candor, and quite simply a brilliant piece of filmmaking by a director with an irrefutably incisive understanding of the human condition.

Without question, though, the single aspect that makes this such an unforgettable film is the performance (in her motion picture debut) by Ziyi Zhang as the young Zhao Di. A young woman of exquisite beauty, she has a sublime screen presence that is a portrait of the angelic, and her innate ability to silently express the myriad emotions called for by her character is used to great effect by director Zhang. Ziyi's portrayal is one of youthful innocence mixed with stubborn determination, which gives her character the necessary depth to be entirely convincing, and she will win you over in a heartbeat. She is so affecting that near the end, when Di, now an old woman, is hurrying across a rickety foot bridge, the same bridge we've seen the young Di traverse many times on her way to and from the schoolhouse (which is central to the story), despite the weathered age so evident on her face, because of the lasting impression made by Ziyi, you realize that she still bears the heart of the young woman you've come to care so much about by this time, and you understand that age is superficial; that this is a shell housing the spirit and the true beauty that resides within. It's a beautiful moment to behold, and ours forever, due to the extraordinary performance and presence of the delicate Ziyi Zhang, as well as the tremendous sensitivity and care with which she is presented by director Zhang.

The supporting cast includes Bin Li (Grandmother), Guifa Chang (Old Mayor), Wencheng Sung (Mayor) and Zhongxi Zhang (Crockery Repairman). A love story told sincerely from the heart is a treasure that endures forever, like a painting by Monet or Renoir; and like those artists, director Zhang is nothing less than an impressionist behind the camera, capturing the distinctive rhythms of life and love for all time in `The Road Home,' a gentle, poetic film that will make it's way into the hearts of all who experience it. And therein remain, forevermore. 10/10.
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10/10
Wonderful story that will bring tears to your eyes
ash-2024 July 2004
This movie is a roller-coaster between joy and sorrow, one moment you're crying when the love of her life leaves the village, only to cry from happiness five minutes later when she finds a lost item given to her by the same man. I do not think I have ever seen such a beautiful story and screenplay. Many times during the movie I was brought to tears. Both from sadness as well as from happiness. I have just seen Ziyi Zhang in a marvelous part I will never forget. She deserves an Oscar for the part she played if you ask me,

no one has ever moved me as much as she just did, I still have tears in my eyes...
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10/10
Wonderful Film!
ust20063 January 2005
I have always been a big fan of Zhang Zimou, the director of this film. I have seen several of his films..To Live, Raise the Red Lantern and most recently Hero. The Road Home is a sensitive and beautiful film centering on the story of the courtship between between a young country girl and a teacher..The story is simple yet poignant and the actors are wonderful! The scenery is breathtaking and Zhang tells the story in a hushed tone and lets it unwind to it's emotionally wrenching conclusion..I highly recommend this movie for the culture, the story and the wonderfully understated acting..such a refreshing change of pace from the "in your face" mainstream films of today...
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10/10
Moving endearing story
InzyWimzy5 July 2002
This film tells the story of innocence and love. It's is not overly sentimental and performances are honest and sincere. The change in color is very symbolic as happy memories are depicted with plush colors. Zhang Ziyi as Zhao Di is really great here as her determination, will, and very giving nature makes her all the more likeable. Her sweet smile is very infectious! I was moved when she accidentally falls and drops here bag while running; emphasized the whole importance of the bowl. Very moving scene.

Director Zhang Yimou deserves credit for beautifully telling the story. Simple things (changing color of season from spring to winter) make for some stunning visuals like wheat fields flowing with the breeze and brightly leaf filled forests. Add a serene soundtrack and this is a movie worth seeing. See it for my sweetie Zhang Ziyi!
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8/10
Very Slow, But Very Beautiful, Touching
ccthemovieman-17 March 2006
For fans of faster-paced movies, be forewarned: this is extremely slow. For others who love a beautifully-filmed movie or a touching romance story, this Chinese film will do nicely.

Zhang Ziyi, who has now become an International star thanks to Crouching Tiger, Hero, House Of Flying Daggers and Memoirs Of A Geisha, never looked prettier and more appealing than here. Maybe that's because she plays such a sweet, innocent, non-violent (no martial arts here) character: a woman smitten with a new teacher in town and one who will go any lengths (in a totally pure sense) to be noticed and attract this man, mainly in the form of incredible patience.

This is one of the prettiest movies I've seen on DVD. It helps to be a fan of Ziyi and appreciate her beauty, because there are many shots of her face as she just stares looking for her man. This character gives new meanings to the words faithful, steadfast and devotion.

The film is actually two stories: the here-and-now about an old man and woman, and a long flashback telling the love story of how they met. In the first segment, the man had just died and the woman is grieving and making funeral arrangements. They involve walking with the casket a long way home, hence the title. The middle part of the film, the romance, features Ziyi. That middle segment - the courtship - is in brilliant, almost stunning-looking color. The beginning and end of the film are both in black-and-white. The cinematography for both parts is magnificent.
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8/10
Simple and wonderful love story
hussain9526 October 2003
The Road Home is a movie about a very standard and simple love on the first site story. The beauty is in the great acting and the spirit that comes out of the actors.

I liked a lot to watch how people in such villages live and how they dress and the movie gave attention to many daily events of those people.

Again, the acting is gorgeous, but the values that the movie is showing is great also and the strong bounds in the family is there in the movie and you can see how much the love and respect of a sun would make him do to meet his mothers wishes and how grateful student can be to a teacher gave his life to them.

Another point that I liked in the movie is how the director use color. In the current events, you will see black and white scenes and when flashbacks start the colors will come a life. The old days are better and there was the real life for the characters of this movie not the current days, except for the day the sun took his father's place in the school and start teaching the students of the village.

Great movie that I would love to watch again and again.
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10/10
Simple, Moving, Gorgeous
EyeDunno25 October 2005
From the first frames of this classic tale of love, I was absolutely drawn in to feel as though I was taken from a movie and into a tale of the story of two people who fell in love. There was no sappy story, and actually, there wasn't even a single kiss. But one could feel a sense of passion and love from all the characters and those who had a hand in completing this elegant tale. My goodness, I didn't feel as though I were watching people acting. I felt as if they were the actual people. The elders, towns folk, and main characters all embraced their roles down to the last thread of clothing, and it seems as though the location was an actual remote town. There was only a simple plot, where a son returns home by the request of the mayor, to a town where a grieving mother has to bury her husband, who once had taught at the town's school.

The writing was crafted quite well. The cast and crew's work showed their dedication. Definitely a movie for all ages, but a must for those who still believe in love and destiny. Although it's a tear- jerker, it's because the viewer feels for the characters, not because we had been force- fed sentimental moments. No one was killed, not a shot was fired, no cute animals, and no scenes of kissing. I'm trying to even remember if the mother and father had even held hands, yet one can feel that they both truly loved each other. Kudos to director Zhang Yimou, who crafted a thoughtful, moving, and believable movie.
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10/10
A romance Hollywood could never make.
joerna1 June 2001
It is simply the most touching and beautiful movie I have ever seen.

A young man returns to his home village after his fathers death. There he meets his mother in deep sorrow. He finds a picture of his parents, and starts telling the story on how they met. I saw this after seeing Crouching Tiger, Hidden dragon. It is a totally different movie, but equals in acting, photography, music and quality. This is the kind of movie and kind of story Hollywood could never make. Hollywood romantic movies looks like pure plastic after this one.
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Once I was 18 and in love
MsLiz17 May 2002
This movie had the wonderful ability to remind me what it was like to be an 18-year-old in love. I did not live in China, but it was heart-rending experience, and one that brought me closer to who I am today.

I also appreciated the opportunity to remember the death of my father, when I was 24, and the stories I know of his life and how he and my mother met, and the impact he had on the lives of the people who knew him.

This movie also taught me more about China's varied geography--I had no idea there were birch trees and prairie farms there, as in the Kansas of my childhood.

I highly recommend this film, it helps me remember that we are connected to those whom we have never met, because we all can feel love and remember the best parts of life.
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Cinematic Perfection!
Cyclo Rider13 August 2001
This movie should have been released in mainstream theaters!

Simple, yet superb storytelling... a profoundly emotional experience... genuine and heartfelt... exquisite... breathtakingly beautiful...

Some movies leave you feeling dirty as you walk out of the theater, but this movie leaves you feeling clean and refreshed!

This is one drama that should be seen on the big screen, definitely.

I feel sorry for the mainstream people who missed it in the art-houses or don't know how good it is or don't know that it exists!

This film would have been a success in the big multi-plexes. I really believe that. An add campaign featuring colorful full page adds highlighting the films' critical praise and the actress Ziyi Zhang would have done the trick. The public is more sophisticated than Hollywood thinks. I'm sure significant numbers of young people would have flocked to see this film had it been released in mainstream theaters. Cinematic experiences like THE ROAD HOME are a rarity indeed.
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9/10
As a Chinese, I like this move
liuyonghui1726 November 2006
As a Chinese born in the 80s I found this somewhat old story truly moving. The film is taken in northern China (HeBei province, ChengDe city) which happens to be near my hometown. But it's not for this reason I like this movie,of course. The director managed to put the story in a beautiful scenery and the music is moving too. Although I thought it unwise to cry before a movie, for many times I can't hold my tears. You know, at that time(before 1980) China is in a conflicting and somewhat unfreedom situation. Boys and girls get to know each other and marry though other people(usually their parents)'s "introduction".And some people(expecially those who has land,academic status,capital) were beaten,put into prison,forced to do heavy jobs for no reason at all. Teachers at that time was in a very low social position. In the movie the teacher is honored because the little village is far away from political movements. Although in such a blurred situation and such poverty, there is still shining true love. I think this is the moving part. And now we have every freedom to date a girl, to go wherever we want, to possess. But that kind of love is not practically available to me and to most Chinese.Is innocency and simplicity the source of happiness? he he
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10/10
Yet another great film by Zhang Yimou
yuntong21 June 2005
The original Chinese title of this film is simply "My Father and Mother" (Wo De Fuqin He Muqin). It is ironic the English title "The Road Home" seems more to the point.

To me, this movie is about the Home and the Road leading to the Home. That Home is Zhao Di's love to the village teacher. He is her destiny and eternity. The Road to Home is the road we see Di runs, walks, stalks and waits, a road that gives Di at times unbound joy of love and hope, but also trepidation, anxiety and deep sorrow, a road that witnesses Di's unfailing faith and determination.

Speaking of the road, most foreigners may not notice the peculiar way in which Zhao Di (Zhang Ziyi) runs or walks, and she runs a lot in the film. This is not the way Zhang Ziyi would run when she is not playing the role (remember the agile and elegant Zhang Ziyi in Hidden Dragon and Crouching Tiger?), but it is the very familiar way countryside girl/women in China run, especially those in northern and colder parts of China.

Playing a Chinese peasant girl is a particular study, Zhang Ziyi may have failed in subtleties here and there, but her run and walk are succeeding convincingly. When Di finally first meets face to face with her lover on the road, she quickly walks away, and that walk by Zhang Ziyi is the quintessential Chinese peasant girl's walk when under public attention or embarrassment – a priceless walk.

There is an unspoken but important undercurrent in Di's relationship to her lover - she is a peasant girl but he is a town "citizen". In those days of China (1957), and still to certain degree even today, they practically belong to different classes. Di's blind but all-knowing mother once alludes Di of that to discourage Di of her love dream.

Di is illiterate, as most girls of her days are, but he is educated. This difference traditionally also amounts to a class distinction. Di clearly has a reverence and a fascination with literacy, something she and her village never have. She adores his literary voice in teaching and listens to it all the time. He hardly talks and when talking speaks little and in low voice, but through Di ears, we hear her lover's literary voice loud and clear and plenty. His literary voice and the newly built village school represent a new dimension and horizon for her, something that awakes her and draws her.

Di is a peasant girl. Girls in countryside those days don't even date, leave alone active seeking out men. Di's "freedom" love affair is way ahead of her villagers and of her time. But he is her destiny, her Home, thus ensues the saga of an extraordinary Road to Home. Di has to run, run to express and release her unbound joy of love, run to see and in presence of her lover, run to battle with the unsurmountable taboo, run to avoid facing up her class deficiencies, run to delay the inevitable encounter…

But Di otherwise stays close to her basics: the vast mother earth and landscape, the changing color and hue as the sun moves, the winding dirt road, the crops, the trees, the water from the well, the loom, the cloth, the huge adobe oven, the kitchen filled with warmth of bellowing steam and rays of sun shine, the food, many kinds of food, and that big white ceramic bowl with blue flower pattern. These are Di's elements.

The story happens in the politically fateful year of 1957 when Mao launches his anti-rightist movement that causes many great suffering. Di's lover is also implicated. Such an eventful turn of fortune can be a ready drama to be played out with great effects, but instead, we only hear the village mayor saying: "these things are city folk's affair that we won't be able to understand". And of course, the poor Di has to wait a few more years before finally unites her lover.

It should be no surprise that the unfailing Zhang Yimou is again at his mastery, turning a simple and almost cliché story into such a deeply touching and moving film. What is surprising is the great performance by Zhang Ziyi, considering the fact that this is her film debut. Of course, Yimou's camera and directorship helps, lucky Ziyi.

Sadly though, this film, like many other of Zhang Yimou's, is not well received in China. The quietness, the lack of dialog, the meticulous nuance in subtlety and the full blown saturation of colors seem to have counter effect with many Chinese audience. There has been consistent complaint by audience in China that Zhang's films are made catering to foreigners' taste and curiosity. It doesn't help either that Zhang's films are always popular oversea, while many excellent domestic films by Chinese taste get no foreign recognition.
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10/10
Just saw it...loved it
lu_morning23 November 2004
OK, just saw it and read some reviews here. Thought I give a little input from my perspective. I came back from a good workout. Did some heavy bag training probably punched enough to knockout one hundred grown men. OK granted bags don't punch back or imply that I could last even one round against a pro but just to show that I'm no baby. I rarely cry if ever ;) Can't remember the last time I did at least. Well this night I cried like a little baby in this one. Can't put my hand around why either. Maybe it's the Oscar worthy performance from the beautiful actress Zhang Ziyi. Her performance pulled me in with her acting, her beautiful face, images of her braided pig tail hair flapping in the wind as she cutely trotted down the dirt path, her mandarin youthful voice and so on and so on. Or it could be what I think got to be the most stunning natural scenery I have ever seen captured in cinema. Spring, summer, fall, winter like the natural flow of life itself. Or it could be Zhang Ziyi IN the beautiful stunning scenic back drop that did it. Maybe it could be the music, the serene nostalgic music that strikes the chord in my heart. One reviewer put it Celtic like with Chinese flavor. But you guessed it, it's all the combination of the above weaved(pun intended for those who saw the movie) into such a simple, pure story of love and innocence. The story is simple yes but in the simplicity lies the complexity that is life. If I sit to examine the movie, I could write a thesis on lessons learned from watching this movie or more correctly lessons I already know from living but are brought out to the forefront from watching this movie. As a reviewer, I am opinionated and as such my view is always right unless shown otherwise. I'm a reasonable man after all. So for those who say it's too simple...idiots. You haven't reflected enough. For those who say the stories have been filmed time and time before and just a rehash...morons. Watch the movie again and talked to the idiots who have reflected enough. For those who thinks it's too slow or no action...schmuck get help for your ADD and then talk to the morons who talked to the idiots. OK don't take my criticism too seriously it's all in good humor. To each your own opinion. I care not to dive into the complexity of this movie. I neither have the time nor the motivation to write a long, long review. It's a very good movie to just enjoy and savor after getting bombarded with today's Hollywood pyrotechnics, special effect movies (titanic cough cough). And maybe you will be able to find complexity and truth in this simple little gem of a movie.
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10/10
Fantastic
zaroco2 January 2006
Inspiring.Touching.I don't understand some criticism about the so call lack of scenes about the two lovers.Sometimes images can tell more than words and sometimes words can tell more than images.When the son say that his father when they finally get together never left his mother anymore i think those words say it all.It wouldn't be necessary to tell all the history,like their marriage,their routine,that would be predictable,not like the way the director wisely did.One thing that i notice is that people perhaps did not understand that the School itself is a character,an important character with meanings for everybody.And its not about a crush of two young.It is about education,tradition,philosophy of life,respect,spirituality.Its just simple human feelings,spontaneous.For some people maybe hard to understand the nature of this movie.For those who criticize i respect your opinion but reflect more and you will see a message of love.
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10/10
breathtaking
n-m_heavy28 January 2006
this is the most romantic film i have ever seen. it has a tremendous purity which is very refreshing in this day and age. the two leads never exchange any romantic dialogue or expressions of their love. we never even see them so much as shake hands. their love is expressed in simple every day actions such as the preparation of a meal. zhang ziyi's beauty is captivating. she transmits to the screen a beautiful purity and innocence that men often secretly long for in a woman. zhang yimou seems to bring the best out in his actresses. his use of colours is inspirational. i have seen several others of his films and although very good i had wondered if he would ever make a really good film that was not a tragedy. here i believe he has truly succeeded. the road home is in my top 3!
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10/10
One of the Most Beautiful, Moving Movies of the Year!
noralee6 December 2005
"The Road Home (Wo de fu qin mu qin)" is partly in black-and-white and all in Chinese, has no action, virtually nothing happens, is G-rated, and the majority of the movie is close-ups of the face of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Wo hu cang long)" discovery Ziyi Zhang.

It is simply one of the best movies of the year. Tears streamed down my face at the end like every time I watch "It's A Wonderful Life."

While there are some similarities as a romance in the clash between rural "backwardness" vs. urban development in tightly controlled "Red" China as in the book "Waiting" by Ha Jin, there's a lot less cynicism and more universal humanity.

It isn't just Zhang's beautiful face that's captivating, but her whole body language, even how her pigtails stream behind her as she runs around the countryside in pursuit of love.

Beyond the even more circumspect romance than Jane Austen, the parent/child relationships are just as moving.

But only the opening credits are in English, making it impossible to appreciate who can take credit for what at the end.

(originally written 6/23/2001)
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10/10
What makes a plain but deeply-moving love story?
Champcai10 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It can be said romance is the most frequently appeared topic in all genres of movies. But how to make a movie with a love story theme outstanding and unique? A number of movies make them vigorous on a grand and spectacular scale, through difficult periods and unbearable hardships to serve as a foil to the theme of romance.

This movie, The Road Home, is different in the following: 1. The background of the story is simple. The romance between Zhaodi and Changyu happens in a desolate village in northern China. There is no such factors as turbulence and disturbance in that era as well as in that village.

2. There is only development of characters, unfolding of the plot and depiction of details. No sexual scenes, no kisses, no sweet talks and even no holding hands can be seen in this movie.

The two points make this movie a wonderful love story and the work of director Yimou Zhang makes it a masterpiece.

I am a Chinese and I think it is one of the reasons that I appreciate this pure and implicit love story. A love story can be told in many ways but, in my opinion, one that is told slowly and plainly with minimum interference of outside factors is the most beautiful one in essence.
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9/10
A quiet gem of a film....
vicdragon19-127 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
What mainly appealed me to this movie was actually just the fact that Ziyi Zhang was the main star. Having seen her in Rush Hour 2, her beauty was extremely appealing. So to be honest, I had no idea what this movie was really about. Having watched it, all i can say is that Zhang Yimou really knows how to pull a lot of emotion into this story. It transcends two periods into a story that evolves around a long love. Ziyi Zhang plays a girl who is desperate to catch the affections of a young teacher who has moved into her village. Though you know they get togother from the very beginning, as her character is much older and her husband has died, she wishes to have his body carried back home carried by men, which hasn't been done for a very long time. A flashback of the younger couple shows how they met a very long time ago, in a beautifully shot and wonderfully heart warming encounter and relationship established.

There doesn't seem to be much lines for the actors, with only a few scenes in where they communicate, but the emotions are all captured on their faces. The quietness of the film adds a layer of deepened emotion where you can feel Zhang's passion for this man - it doens't need to be conveyed verbally. The film is very romantic and powerful, in such a simple story, yet I was totally mesmerized by it. It also contrasts the old generation with the new, showing differences in traditions, values and the development of a new society (slightly touched upon).

For those who are a fan of romantic films,beautiful scenery and a simple story, this will not disappoint at all.
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9/10
Heart in Mouth!
Darkangel218 October 2007
A peaceful jerking of tears; a humane and tender film that captures the slow process pending a loved ones funeral arrangements.

Returning home after his fathers death, Luo Changyu reflects on the deep belonging his parents shared. As he traces the past, his mother's disciplined desire towards his father plays out like therapy for the heart.

Zhang Ziyi; the actress more commonly known for her Martial arts adventures shines as the obituarist and adorable love interest of the shy Luo Changyu in this meaningful love story.

Zhang Yimou (the director) is a rare individual, its hard to believe the same mind brought us the amazing 'House of Flying Daggers'.

Beautiful cinema!
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10/10
The Road Home is a Great Movie! Ziyi Zhang is Perfection!
Strider-10029 November 2001
The Road Home is a fantastic movie. I rank it and The Straight Story as the two best movies of 1999. The story is very simplistic, and this honest portrait of two people falling in love is timeless.

It starts off with Lu Yusheng who has come back to his home to attend to the burial of his father who has passed away. The village people led by the mayor explain to him that his mother wished that his body be carried back to the village so that his soul will not lose "The Road Home". When Luo reflects upon this request Luo recalls how his mother and father met and how the courtship began. Zhang Ziyi plays his young mother and the movie revolves about how hard she tries to win the heart of the new School Teacher who has come to town and her incredible love and devotion for him. Ziyi just by facial expression and body language alone gives one of the greatest acting performances of all time. The cinematography is incredible and the pure and innocent story line reminds you of a time when Hollywood took pride in turning out good movies. How they could learn from the Chinese films of today. Zhang Yimou gives a great directing performance and all the cast do a fantastic job of conveying the message of this movie. This is a must see for people who appreciate great movies that are comprised of great acting, writing, and direction. If you are the type who loves lots of violence, gore, explosions, and really shallow writing and directing then turn your attention to the people who produce that crap. This is a must see for all human beings who appreciate the beautiful things in life.
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10/10
love is eternal
widescreenguy16 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
several aspects of Chinese culture and tradition contribute to the success of this film. the most important is the story of a simple peasant girl smitten for life by the handsome school teacher with a beautiful voice, and her iron determination and devotion to the love of her life. such is the foundation of civilization, countless couples struggling to make a life together and then put in the ground at the end of their life in a tranquil place.

I am definitely a big fan of Zhang Ziyi. I continue to track down her films. she possesses the classic Chinese female features, the petite face, the almond eyes, small stature and that iron determination. my wife who is Cantonese has these same features and character.

this film brought tears to my eyes for the solid eternal storyline of devotion and sacrifice. thats what its all about.

spoilers:

the scene where the young peasant girl makes the mushroom dumplings and then is heartbroken when her love is taken out of the village, she runs across the country trying to catch up to the cart but falls and breaks the bowl. her heart is broken too, and you are now wondering what it will take to mend her heart.

eventually such stubborn steadfastness results in the young man finding his way back to the village, and then the unseen authority from the big city sets a 2 year separation, perhaps it is to break the relationship that has developed. but eventually they are reunited and the young girl triumphs and welcomes her man wearing the red jacket that is his favorite.

the film then fast forwards to the situation of the son's attempts to comply with the devoted wife's wish to have her husband carried back to the village. and then we learn that she is not the only one devoted to the school teacher, his students come from all around to help in the procession. and the men from the next village hired to help refuse payment out of respect. this leaves money available to start a collection to finally get the school house rebuilt. so the dedication of the people to the school teacher is rewarded, and the closing moments of the film show the son reading from the same notebook the school teacher used 40 years ago.

this is a very heartwarming tale. the actors fit their character to a T. the scenery is harsh at times but beautiful, like the lives of the devoted couple and all the villagers.

after careful consideration: 10 / 10
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10/10
A journey back to my childhood
china-girl6 May 2002
I laughed and cried with the movie. It took me back to my childhood!!!

In the early 70s, I lived for 3 years in a village not very far from where the movie was filmed. My parents were sent there to be re-educated, which was a common experience for a lot of Chinese people during the Cultural Revolution. I was a student in a small school like the one in the movie. Everything in this movie was almost exactly the same as what I experienced during those 3 years. The same mountains and field, the same oil lamps and water pots, a new school house built the same way which stirred up great excitement in the village, and most of all the same type of warm people whom I have always deeply missed.

This is a movie that has a very special meaning to me. I am very glad that many of you also love it.
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8/10
Chinese cinema pleases me again
Emerenciano12 January 2004
Once more I watched a Chinese film and again I liked it. It's amazing how I just love all the Chinese films I have seen. "Yi ge dou bu meng shao" (No One Less) is beautiful and touching; Ba Wang Bie Ji (Farewell My Cocunbine) is hard and true; and "Wo de fu qin mu qin" (The Road Home) is innocent and pure. Chinese films, like Iran ones, get simple theme and develop them to something involving and beautiful. These movies have been a great descovering for me.

Here in "Wo de fun qin mu qin" a man comes back to his village in the mountains for his father's funeral. There, he tells us the story of love his parents lived. That's the moment beautiful Ziyi Zhang enters the story. Her face is pretty and she has a great look. Besides the quality of the film, her face is a good reason to watch "Wo de fu qin mu qin".
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10/10
Should be an 11
pgr-fw9 March 2009
First off, I'm a very hard grader. I think 10 should be resolved for culture changing movies: "Gone with the Wind", "Casablanca", "The Godfather." "The Road Home" is in that category, or it would be if enough people had heard of it. It deserves to be an 11; it raises your expectation of what a movie can be.

I can't explain why this is such a moving film, but since this is a review I guess I'll have to try. First off, the cinematography is stunningly beautiful. No, it's not grand vistas of spectacular mountain ranges, it's just that every frame is a photographic masterpiece. I have some experience with still photography, and I think that every single frame in this film would stand on its own as a fine art photograph. (There's one little hiccup with the chronology; those who don't care about such things won't care, and those who do (like me) will readily forgive the slip.)

The story: man returns to the village of his birth to bury his father; and his mother is a irascible, stubborn old bat. Why is that so good? I think that's it: you start with one expectation, and you find out over time why she's like that. Simple really, but wonderful, told with a marvelous pace. I like to pretend I'm a tough guy, and I really resent it when people try to manipulate my emotions, but I can't hold the tears. And not because it's sad. It's joyous, wonderful, a story of lives well lived under less than optimal circumstances.

Is there some propaganda involved, considering that this is China in the beginning of the Communist era? Gosh, I don't know. There are pictures of Mao, and it's clear that without him none of this would have happened. I'm about as far from Mao as one can get, but it's not about politics, it's about people, living their lives nobly in the environment they are in.

I'm stunned that this movie is only 90 minutes, it seems much longer, and I mean that in a good way. It does so much in such a short time that it's hard to believe that it's so short. There's so much more substance in half the time of, say, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End" that you feel there must have been something happening involving a black hole.

The first time I saw "The Road Home" I only caught about the last 30 minutes, and couldn't forget it. It really stick to your ribs. There's no movie I recommend more highly.
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