Friday, January 24, 2014

If You Are the One (2008) [PG] ***

Qin Fen (You Ge) is a somewhat geeky, forty-something inventor who has created a ridiculous device called a conflict resolution terminal, basically a plastic tube to prevent cheating when playing rock-paper-scissors. Incredibly he finds a rich entrepreneur who buys his invention for a million pounds sterling, after which Qin goes online to look for a wife.

His dates include a widow who hasn't gotten over her dead husband and wants a sexless marriage, a young girl who's pregnant and is looking for a father for her child, and Smiley (Qi Shu) a lovely flight attendant whose name is ironic, because her life is anything but smiles.

Smiley is hiding a dark secret; she's in love with a married man whom she knows will never leave his wife. And so, Smiley is just looking for a friend who might help heal the wound in her heart. What she finds in Qin is a man who is also carrying a deep emotional burden, and trying to heal himself. Qin and Smiley begin a relationship of frank, almost brutal, honesty, with the realization that there's no future together for them, and so there's no expectation, and no risk. They separate but meet later in Hangzhou, China, and still later in Hokkaido, Japan. Gradually a bond of friendship, trust and affection develops between them, until it grows into love.

Writer/director Xiaogang Feng has crafted a beautiful film, painstakingly developing the characters of Qin and Smiley, until we come to care about these two people and yearn for them to be happy together, and free of the pain in their lives. While there are comedic moments, this intense, character-driven romance is really a drama with overtones of tragedy; it features impressive performances by both You Ge and Qi Shu, beautiful cinematography and a lovely soundtrack. The English subtitles feel as though they are accurately translating the dialogue. Had the film been 30 minutes shorter and had Qin's invention been more believable, this would have been an even more approachable and compelling motion picture. 

Labels: drama, romance    
Internet Movie Database    
Tomatometer (critics=NA, viewers=82)    

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