BY RUBY GEGE
Rating: 4 Durians out of 5
I came across this film whilst browsing for top ten Chinese films of 2013. I wanted to learn the mainland’s Mandarin pronounciation, so I chose what seemed to be the least-serious kind of films (side note: the Mandarin language is so difficult… TT). I have had my share of Chinese movies but they all tend to be super political, serious, deep and not really for the romantic hearted (ie The Soong Sisters, City of Life and Death). But to my surprise, this film turns out to be more meaningful than what I predicted (looking at the shallow cheesy title, really, I did not have much expectations).
The film tells the story of the struggles of a pregnant twenty six years old mistress of a rich mainland Chinese tycoon. Due to her pregnancy, her boyfriend sent her to the USA for her to give birth. Apparently, there’s this weird rule thing in China where pregnancy out of wedlock cannot be registered or something thus the mothers cannot get proper health care? I’m not sure. But the plot indicates as such.
Our heroine is the mistress, Wen Jia Jia a fabulous super spoilt and super bratty young woman with a mouth everyone should slap. Literally. She is obnoxious and thinks everyone should please her because her boyfriend supplies her with an unlimited amount of cash. Her life, though wealthy, was lonely in the States. She had nobody – no friends, no family – and she had to stay in a maternal care home with three women she never met.
BUT O M G CAN I JUST SPAZZ AND GO CRAZY OVER HOW GORGEOUS TANG WEI IS IN THIS FILM? WHY THE FUCK IS SHE SO PRETTY?!!
Jia Jia relied completely on the money provided by her boyfriend. Being such an obnoxious woman, she did not get along well with the other residents of the maternal care house until much later. Always isolated in her loneliness due to her materialistic self, she found solace in the unlikely friendship with a Chinese expatriate, Frank, a seemingly dull former doctor with no personality. Frank is a nice polite middle aged man, which is absolutely the kind that I like! Arghhhh, his heart is so big I can cry!!
What kind of guy is Frank? Well, he is the kind of guy who will never say no to you. He never raises his voice and speak in a soft tone ALL THE TIME (unless you mess with his daughter, whom he loves like mad). Even if you are a mere acquaintance, he will help and take care of you as if you are the most important person in his life. When Jia Jia fell ill after giving birth, he cared for her (even though they were ONLY friends at that time) so well to the point that the nurses said they had never seen such a loving husband before.
Why is he so sweet? *cries again*
The main point of this story is, of course, the issue of materialism vs happiness. Jia Jia had the money most can only dream of. As a well-provided-for mistress, she could afford anything she wanted. She could order people to do things for her by just paying them. However, we can see how bad her personality was due to her powerful position.
We can see a glimpse of her humanity in a scene where a drunken Jia Jia confessed to Frank that no matter what people say, she is a good mother because unlike other mistresses who aborted their babies once they got pregnant, she chose to stick with the pregnancy out of love for her son. Unlike others, she was willing to take the risk. As a mistress, Jia Jia was always second to her boyfriend’s wife.
I’m not sure what made Jia Jia a mistress in the first place. She used to be a food editor, an independent career woman. Was it love or money that attracted her to a life of dependency, I’m not sure. But she seemed to enjoy the materialistic super load super shallow life quite nicely.
In the film, the love story between Frank and Jia Jia was presented quite subtly. Jia Jia, who was from Beijing, was trapped in a life that seemed to revolve around money. Maybe that’s the only way she was taught to live. She thought nobody doesn’t love money. Upon reaching Seattle, she met Frank, a loving father whose mindset was very simple. He gave her an unconditional friendship, keeping her company and taking care of her even when she was broke. I think that was what pulled Jia Jia towards Frank – he reminded her of the innocence of a human soul. It was a beautiful realization – money does not mean anything.
Even after returning to her boyfriend and her super rich life, Jia Jia was not the same anymore. Materialism no longer made her happy. She missed the simple happier ways Frank showed to him. She left the rich boyfriend and established a life of her own with her newborn son, reuniting with Frank in USA two years later. Maybe she waited to be financially independent first before going to Frank. She knew the cons of being financially dependent.
The film ended quite happily, leaving a sweet satisfied taste. 🙂 Damn it, I’m glad I found this film! Dear God, please give me a Frank in my life!!!!!
*I really recommend the director’s previous work, Ocean Heaven starring Jet Li. It will definitely bring tears to your eyes and make you cry like a baby.*