REVIEW / ROMANCE DRAMA
115 minutes/Opens at the moment/three stars
The story: When her sister Zhinan dies, Zhihua (Zhou Xun) goes to a center faculty reunion with the intention of breaking the news to everybody. But she will get mistaken for her sister and chooses to not appropriate the error. Instead, she reconnects with their outdated mutual buddy Yinchuan (Qin Hao), whom she had a crush on, and begins corresponding with him by way of letters.
Japanese film-maker Shunji Iwai, who had instructed tales by way of letters within the romance film Love Letter (1995) and tv mini-series Chang-ok’s Letter (2017), spins yet one more story about the fantastic thing about the written phrase right here – this time set in Shanghai.
There is loads of buzz over how that is Iwai’s first movie made in China – the place he has a cult following amongst faculty movie college students – however there’s nothing distinctly Chinese in regards to the film in any respect.
The director is, in actual fact, remaking Last Letter in Japan with a Japanese forged subsequent 12 months, so it must be fascinating to see how he tweaks the story for his native viewers.
The auteur is understood for casting a pointy eye on modern Japanese tradition in movies reminiscent of youth drama All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001).
While he might not have managed to inject this film with an genuine Chinese flavour, what he will get proper, as anticipated, is the tone.
There is a continuing sense of melancholy all through, helped by the heavy-on-strings soundtrack – which he scored – in addition to the muted color palette of the suburban middle-class neighbourhoods.
If Love Letter had been a narrative in regards to the innocence of younger love, then this one is about loss and remorse in a single’s grownup years.
In the case of Zhihua, she feels sorry for herself for being the ignored sister. For Yinchuan, it’s all about what may have been and the issues he by no means bought to say to his childhood sweetheart.
It is simply of their letters to one another that they’ll actually be trustworthy and free.
One revelation after one other maintain issues moving alongside – intercut with prolonged flashback scenes carried out by proficient teen actress Zhang Zifeng as a younger Zhihua – however the story by no means totally engages, no due to the pointless sub-plots involving Zhihua’s mother-in-law and Zhinan’s estranged husband.
They distract from the central characters simply as one is beginning to really feel absorbed of their story.