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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
Lu and Feng are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner during the Cultural Revolution. He finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife no longer recognizes him.
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
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 »
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 »
Zhao is a 50 year old unemployed loser making one last attempt at finding love. He courts a portly divorcee, but keeps having to lie to pass himself off as a better catch than he really is. Eventually, of course, the lies backfire. Zhao tells his sweetheart that he is the manager of a fancy hotel. She responds by foisting her blind stepdaughter off on him, confident that he can easily find her employment at his fancy hotel.
What follows is a funny, unlikely and touching relationship between Zhao and the blind girl Wu. While Zhao is terribly misguided, constructing elaborate deceptions to keep Wu "employed" at the non-existent hotel, he does these wrong things for the right reasons. Zhao does find love, but it isn't the woman or the love he expected.
This is an excellent film and there are three big reasons why: First of all, it's directed by Zhang Yimou who may well be the best director alive. This isn't a masterpiece like "Raise the Red Lantern," but seeing the phrase "Directed by Zhang Yimou" should be enough to tell you the next two hours will be well spent.
The second and third reasons are Benshan Zhao as Zhao and Jei Dong as Wu. Zhao is a respected Chinese comedian, but the role here is really a mixture of comedy and drama. Zhao gives the mixture exactly the right touch. But the real revelation is Jei Dong. I found myself wondering through the entire movie if she were really blind. She is that good. (And I still don't know the answer.)
Don't expect a laugh out loud comedy if you see this movie. It is very funny in places, but frequently that humor is very uncomfortable. And frequently happy times aren't really what they seem.
23 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this