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梁祝 (1994)
The Lovers

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/07/2006

Tsui Hark's take on the classic story of "The Butterfly Lovers" (see The Love Eterne, for another example) is a funny and heart-warming romance. Charlie Yeung plays a clumsy and un-ladylike daughter whose father wishes to marry her off to improve her status, but she is worth so little that they disguise her as a man and send her to school. There she meets the poor but honest Nicky Wu, and love blossoms - but Nicky doesn't know he's falling in love with a girl.

The story is essential Romeo & Juliet with gender confusion (a plot device Shakespeare wasn't above using himself). The visuals for the film are absolutely luscious, with stunning art direction, production design and cinematography. The film is carried by the excellent performance of the leads - you can't help falling in love with them a little yourself.

Tsui Hark was the master of re-inventing classic stories and genres, and this is another great example of that talent at work.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 08/15/2003
Summary: BORING

I didn't get into this movie, i don't know why either. Maybe it was slow paced or i feel that the story could of been stretched out longer. I felt the end came too quickly and what happens at the end did move me. But i wondered why since i don't really care about these characters!!

Maybe i was not in the right mood to watch his movie, but i don't think i will watch it again anytime soon either


Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: alienlord
Date: 05/13/2001

A cute comedy turned tear-jerker drama about a young girl who is given the chance to go to school and study, but must disguise herself as a boy to do so. The film is very good, especially the performances and cinemtography, but it gets bogged down during the middle becoming a tedious character study on sexual feelings. The film is greatly saved by its masterful turn as a drama with a particularly memorable ending.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Randy Byers
Date: 04/23/2001
Summary: Source of the story

The story for this movie is an adaptation of a Chinese opera that was previously made into a film called LOVE ETERNE (or THE SHAN-PO AND CHU YING-TAI) in 1963.

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/08/2000

The Lovers differs from many of Tsui Hark's other films by the fact that it pauses to take a few breaths between plot points,
unlike the breathlessly hectic action films for which Tsui Hark is so well known. The Lovers is a film that starts as a romantic
comedy but ends as a drama, with a more languid pacing than one might immediately associate with Tsui Hark.

Charlie Yeung plays Chuk Yin-Toi, a child of a wealthy family in China sometime around 300 CE (or thereabouts). When her
father decides to marry her off for the family's benefit, she is sent to a boarding school so as to make her a more desirable
wife. To attend this school, she must pose as a boy (sidebar). There she meets Leung Pah-Shan, a poor boy who is studying
there in the hopes of raising his status by obtaining a government position through the exams.

As the title indicates, they fall in love. This takes up the beginning two thirds of the film or so. The story during this portion
is told in a lightly comic tone, and the two leads are quite good. Charlie Yeung is terribly charming without resorting to
cutesiness to be appealing. There are also some interesting moments where Pah-Shan wonders whether he is gay (must
have been a theme in 1994, as He is a Woman, She is a Man had been released the month before The Lovers).

The latter third of the film takes a turn into darker territory. Chuk Yin-Toi is called home from school to be married, but
before she leaves she makes Pah-Shan promise to ask her family for her hand in marriage. He follows through on his
promise to do so but of course his low social status make their desire to marry problematic for Chuk Yin-Toi's family.

The latter third of the film features stunning visuals, which only get more and more powerful as the flim progresses towards
its climax. Charlie Yeung carries the ending quite well, and the final images of the film are quite haunting and beautiful.

The Lovers is a surprising film. Though it initially seems to be a light romantic comedy, it builds in emotional power as it
progresses. Credit for this needs to go to both the script, which is consistently well written, and the lead actors, who handle
the shift in tone with great skill. Charlie Yeung is particulary notable. This film is among the best work in her all too short
career, along with Fallen Angels and Task Force. It is a shame that she retired from the film industry at such a young age.
One can only hope that she (and Brigitte Lin as well) will make a comeback (à la Michelle Yeoh) some time in the future.

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 02/01/2000
Summary: Beautiful but DULL !

The pace is just too slow here. The main enjoyment I gained from this film was recalling how much of the opening sequences was copied and lampooned in Sex & Zen II.
If you want to see a really great romantic film starring this couple, watch Love In The Time Of Twilight instead.

Reviewer Score: 2

Reviewed by: redbean
Date: 12/09/1999

One of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen. I was knocked out by the visuals and the joyousness and sentimentality of the first part of the film. And then the contrast to that in the last part of the film--when the lighting and the sets change and get darker and more claustrophobic as the story gets more and more tragic--wow, it was amazing. I rate THE LOVERS as being one of top movie experiences so far in my life.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

It was a vehicle for the two lead actors. Period. The movie was selling their faces and cashing in on their popularity. To be fair, I think those two leads are good for their roles, but the script was a let down. Firstly, why Tsui Hark always put his political view in every movie he directs? It is a good thing if he does it subtlely, but he always get the message across the screen through his actors' mouths. And it was odd when the dialogs were spoken unnecessarily. So we the audience need to be educated? The dialog not only interrupts the flow of the movie, it spoils the impact of other story lines too. I hope he can spare us his message next time.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

It was an OK movie. I'd probably rate it 7-8 on a ten pt scale. There were parts of the movie that I felt were lacking in originality and probably marred my image of the film. (ie: The scene where Charlie Yeung is supposed to quote poetry for her father, or the scene later at the school when everyone is cheating). I couldn't help but compare the poetry reading scene with Jacky Chan in YOUNG MASTER (which I thought was very funny) and I couldn't stop thinking about TO MISS WITH LOVE or FIGHT BACK TO SCHOOL 1 during the cheating scenes. The film was a light-hearted, mild paced, tragic love story and I thought that both Nicky Wu and Charlie Yeung did a great job of acting and Carrie Ng was great as the semi-wicked parent. However, I had a hard time believing that the students could ever be fooled by Charlie pretending to be a guy. She's way too beautiful of a woman to ever be mistaken as a boy. Overall an enjoyable film that I would recommend.

[Reviewed by BB]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

In 3 A.D., during the Eastern Jin Dynasty, parents dress avery pretty, very privileged girl (Charlie Yeung) like a boy so she may be educated in a local boarding school. There, she falls in love with a poor, but handsome and industrious young man (Nicky Wu), but their short love affair ends in disaster. Director Tsui Hark gave this legend the look of one of your better PRC offerings, moralizing only over the practice of arranged marriage.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7