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The Stolen Years
   2013-12-05 18:29:32    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Chi Huiguang

 [photo: baidu.com]

"The Stolen Years" is a 2013 Chinese romance directed by Wong Chun-chun and stars Bai Baihe, Joseph Chang and Christine Fan.

Laiming gives us his take in this week's 'Movie Review'.


 


After watching Hong Kong director Barbara Wong's movie "The Stolen Years", a question occurred to me: is there such a thing as an overcooked chick flick? Well, I guess for most men, all chick flicks are overcooked, but this one, "The Stolen Years", is particularly so.

He Man is a young divorcee who is lucky enough to get a second chance at her failed marriage since her ex-husband still loves her. However, this only happens after a car accident which causes her to lose her memories from the past five years. Now, since her most recent memory stops at another accident which occurred during the couple's honeymoon trip, He Man finds renewed interest in her ex-husband, and begins to search for the reasons behind their breakup. At the end of the day, the couple arrives at the revelation that all their grudges derive from He Man's promotion at work and decide to forgive each other. Just as they are ready to take up where they left off however, further tragedy occurs and takes their misfortune to a whole new level.

Two types of people are particularly fond of tragedy: women and the Greeks. While I admit that we could all use some catharsis from time to time, "The Stolen Years" provides this to an excessive degree. I mean, we've already learnt that work promotions can be bad for marriages but car accidents may be the cure, providing enough lessons to take from a single chick flick, so there is no need to add more twists to harvest additional tears. FYI, the Greeks need a break.

Nonetheless, the director seems quite determined to push the boundaries and introduces various familiar elements of South Korean TV shows and movies into the storyline.

Well, enough chiding. Despite the overkill, director Barbara Wong is actually quite an expert in story-telling from a female perspective. In 2001, she won the International Film Award for her feature film "Women's Private Parts" at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.

The film's botched ending aside, "The Stolen Years" actually tells a well-paced and well-written chick flick story, which strikes a good balance between sentiment and humor. The lead actress Bai Baihe is a charming presence throughout the film, so much so that her character eclipses the male lead portrayed by Zhang Xiaoquan, making his acting seem merely responsive.

The first half of "The Stolen Years" exhibits the styles of a typical and pleasant Taiwan film until it crash-lands into a South Korean ending. On a scale from one to ten, it gets a six.
 
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