25 August 2006 | lwcai
None of the characters is fully developed. Basically, it is three stories about sex of the three generations, which is very uncharacteristic in the Chinese culture in the 30s, 60s and 80s as the film tries to portray, and which, in turn, makes the movie not quite believable. I grew up in China in from 60's to 80s and yet the stories are very foreign to me. You can almost feel that the stories are written by those people living in modern China and trying to fantasize the lives in China in those years.
The basic setting of this movie has a great potential. This comes to my realization when Hua said to her grandma, "You have lived in you dream for your whole live." They could have developed the stories tighter along this line.
Acting is rather disappointing. I do not see the characters. I merely see those actresses. For example, young Mo has same kind of temper as young Li (as both are played by Zhang Ziyi), and there is no slightest trace of young Mo (Zhang Ziyi) in the older Mo (Joan Chen). In essence, they just play themselves natively, with a minimal level of pretension.
Sets are very unsatisfactory either. Although the color scheme and photography is great and moody, lots of dresses and pops used in the movie are out of their times. For example, the bag Hua carries on her shoulder in the Rail Station when Zou Jie went to college probably did not appear until 90s'. Dresses for young ladies in 60s and 80s are too curvy and revealing in that period of China. There are too many such details to list.