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Movie Review: Happy Times

Story: Director Zhang Yimou presents us with a fine film set in contemporary China. These kinds of simple, lovely plots can only work in the foreign films that we get to see. An American director would not touch this type of film with a ten foot bamboo pole.

Poor, unemployed, fifty-ish bachelor Zhao, is in desperate search of a bride. He finds a prospect who connives to strap him with her blind 18 year old step daughter, and ends up dumping him along the way. How this odd duo work out their tentative relationship is the heart and soul of this film. Along the way we get a look at a huge country that is embarking on massive changes in both the economic and social worlds. The characters depicted in this film seem to be the last vestiges of a society that is bordering on these huge changes and may be some of the many people that will be left behind.

Acting: Terrific performances by one and all. Special mention to the beautiful, young Dong Jie, who I am sure will have a long career.

Critters: Lots of bicycles, lots of people, but no critters.

Food: It's a Chinese film...of course there is food.

Visual Art: Most of the characters were too poor to have any art work in their abodes.

Blatant Product Placement: Haagen Daz Ice Cream (who knew)?

Soundtrack: Sweet and appropriate.

Opening Titles: Simple black background with yellow type.

Theater Audience: Fairly crowded for a hot late summer midweek show. Lots of Asians. There were also a good number of deaf people who were signing during the film.

Predictability Level: Low. I did not know what was going to happen.

Tissue Usage: 1

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: No nits to pick in this enjoyable film.

Big Screen or Rental: Either. But if you would like to see some of Director Zhang Yimou's other wonderful films, you could rent: Red Sorghum, Jou Dou, Raise the red Lantern, The Story of Qui Jou and To Live.

Length: 100 minutes.