It's A Great Great World is a throwback to the lifestyle and culture of Singapore in the 1960s. The story begins with a young woman seeking the owners of several old photographs, and ends up finding an elderly man, who recounts four different stories involving the people in the photos. They include an underachieving man trying to please his mother, a young lady's first love, a past-her-prime singer waiting for her love, and a restaurant trying to give a couple the perfect wedding.
The film boasts some excellent performances from the stars of Singapore television, with veteran actress Xiang Yun easily standing out in her role as an aging, alcoholic nightclub singer. The rest of the cast made good use of the opportunity speaking in various dialect languages that can relate better to middle age audiences, with several gags wonderfully executed in Hokkien, Cantonese and the like.
The problem with the film can essentially be attributed to it's run time. Clocking at just over 90 minutes and having four different stories to tell, director Kelvin Tong was always going to have a problem of either having to rush things, or drag less comprehensive stories to fill up the time. He chose the latter, and the product was a film that was difficult to put strong focus on, as the chapters brushed past each other and most of the character development was at best paper thin.
Nevertheless, the sets and the look of the movie is impressive and deserves to be praised. I was born way after this period of time, but felt the movie was very close to my idea of how life was like when my parents were children. While not a great film in story-telling terms, it does a terrific job invoking nostalgia, or for me, an impression of it.