7.4/10
3,711
41 user 64 critic

Happy Times (2000)

Xing fu shi guang (original title)
Trailer
1:49 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

Zhao is an aging bachelor who hasn't been lucky in love. Thinking he has finally met the woman of his dreams, Zhao leads her to believe he is wealthy and agrees to a wedding far beyond his ... See full summary »

Director:

Yimou Zhang

Writers:

Yan Mo (novel), Gai Zi
4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In a remote mountain village, the teacher must leave for a month, and the mayor can find only a 13-year old girl, Wei Minzhi, to substitute. The teacher leaves one stick of chalk for each ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Minzhi Wei, Huike Zhang, Zhenda Tian
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A Japanese father travels to China's Yunnan province in the place of his ailing son to film a famous folk-opera star.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Ken Takakura, Kiichi Nakai, Shinobu Terajima
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A spurned lover seeks a rich man for revenge. A random onlooker -- who witnessed the public assault committed by the rich man against the lover -- seeks for monetary compensation for his ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Rong Chang, Xudong Du, Qingzhuo Fang
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Prompted by the death of his father and the grief of his mother, a man recalls the story of how they met in flashback.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Honglei Sun, Hao Zheng
Crime | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A provincial boy related to a Shanghai crime family is recruited by his uncle into cosmopolitan Shanghai in the 1930s to be a servant to a ganglord's mistress.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Baotian Li, Xiaoxiao Wang
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Peiqi Liu, Liuchun Yang
Ju Dou (1990)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband's nephew but is forced to raise her son as her husband's heir without ... See full summary »

Directors: Yimou Zhang, Fengliang Yang
Stars: Li Gong, Wei Li, Baotian Li
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When a leprous winery owner in 1930s China dies a few days after his arranged marriage, his young widow is forced to run the winery to make a living while contending with bandits, her drunkard lover, and the invading Japanese army.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Wen Jiang, Rujun Teng
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A young woman becomes the fourth wife of a wealthy lord, and must learn to live with the strict rules and tensions within the household.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Jingwu Ma, Saifei He
To Live (1994)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

After Fugui and Jiazhen lose their personal fortunes, they raise a family and survive difficult cultural changes during 1940s to 1970s China.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: You Ge, Li Gong, Ben Niu
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Romance sparks between a young woman and a young man from different economic backgrounds during China's Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Xuejian Li, Taishen Cheng, Dongyu Zhou
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

Aircraft hijacking with Chinese special forces rescue. Gong Li as a heroic stewardess.

Directors: Fengliang Yang, Yimou Zhang
Stars: You Ge, Li Gong, Zhaoji Jia
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Benshan Zhao ... Zhao
Jie Dong ... Wu Ying
Lifan Dong Lifan Dong ... Stepmother
Biao Fu Biao Fu ... Little Fu
Xuejian Li ... Li
Qibin Leng Qibin Leng ... Wu Ying's Stepbrother
Ben Niu Ben Niu ... Old Niu
Jinghua Gong Jinghua Gong ... Aunty Liu
Hongjie Zhang Hongjie Zhang ... Lao Zhang
Bingkun Zhao Bingkun Zhao ... Lao Bai
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Honglei Sun ... Customer at 'Happy Times'
Edit

Storyline

Zhao is an aging bachelor who hasn't been lucky in love. Thinking he has finally met the woman of his dreams, Zhao leads her to believe he is wealthy and agrees to a wedding far beyond his means. Zhao's best friend Li hatches the idea to raise the money by refurbishing an abandoned bus, which they will rent out by the hour--the Happy Times Hotel--to young couples starved for privacy. Unfortunately, this plan goes awry because Zhao is too old fashioned to allow the couples to leave the bus door closed. Meanwhile, Zhao's fiancee introduces him to her spoiled son and beautiful blind stepdaughter Wu Ying, whom she sees as a burden. To be rid of the girl, she insists that Zhao take her to the Happy Times Hotel and give her a job. Zhao reluctantly agrees, then creates a series of deceptions to keep the girl occupied, including setting her up as a masseuse and enlisting his friends to pretend to be her customers. Everything that is happening between Zhao and Wu is superficially about ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

China

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

31 December 2000 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

Happy Times See more »

Filming Locations:

China

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,900,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,084, 28 July 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$239,134, 10 November 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | Dolby SR

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Zhang Yimou issued a casting call via the Internet for role of the blind girl. Eventual lead Dong Jie was selected from some 40,000 girls who auditioned for the role. See more »

Alternate Versions

SPOILER: In the original China-released ending, Zhao is not involved in a car accident. He writes a letter as the girl's dad and reads it to her as the lights dim and the credits roll. This ending is available in certain DVD releases. See more »

Connections

Featured in Late Night with Conan O'Brien: Episode #9.156 (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Small scale for Zhang Yimou, but still well made
27 April 2002 | by devil.playthingSee all my reviews

There is no doubt in my mind that Zhang Yimou is one of the world's finest film makers. He manages to straddle the bounds of both art house and commercialism with his catalogue of works that show a beauty and grandeur that often earns the description "painterly", whilst also telling a really good story. Happy Times is something of a departure from works like Raise The Lantern and Shanghai Triad, being a fairly realist comedy.

Happy Times ("Happy Times Hotel" on the print) is about a group of 'retired' (laid off) factory workers who conspire to hoax a young blind girl. Not as callous as it sounds though, as their intentions are relatively good. The main characters are a 50 year old bachelor (Zhao Benshan) and the blind girl herself, played by newcomer Dong Jie. A small crowd of interesting friends and the gargantuan love interest/stepmother of the leads pad out the cast, which mostly plays out in a couple of small locations - two cramped flats, a sprawling abandoned warehouse, and a delapidated bus.

It's very much a character piece, focussing mainly on the relationship that develops between Zhao Benshan and Dong Jie, thrust together under circumstances that neither planned. It's a tender story... a little bit happy, a little bit sad. Bittersweet I guess, but only slightly bitter.

Zhang Yimou forgoes his usual luscious cinematography for quite a naturalistic feel. Apparently he used "hidden cameras" to shoot some of it, but I've no idea what that means (maybe the street scenes?). It's quite a simple piece, a light 95 minutes long, yet still crafted with the dexterity and care that Zhang Yimou always brings to a film. Being a character piece, it is very much dependent on the performances for success - Zhang could coax an oscar winner out of a mannequin, but Dong Jie here is especially good. If I hadn't seen her walking around the theatre unattended, I would certainly have believed she was genuinely blind (this is not an easy thing to act), and her emotional expression is spot on too. You couldn't possibly not care for her character, or that of Zhao Benshan.

The movie might be quite 'slight' in Zhang Yimou's filmography - it's unlikely to win any oscars for him, but it is a nicely made movie that I think everybody can enjoy.


16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 41 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching



Recently Viewed