山水有相逢
The Golden Girls (1995)


Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

Romantic comedy starring Anita Yuen and Lau Ching Wan, who are involved in a triangle relationship with Ada Choi. The movie starts out in the sixties, with Anita and Ada playing movie extras who dream of becoming stars. Lau Ching Wan is an aspiring screenwriter who falls for Anita, and the movie follows the lives and careers of these three characters for the next ten years or so. This is a nice intelligent, well-scripted comedy that offers nice insights into the HK movie scene of that period (Francis Ng has a nice supporting role as a movie actor), complete with period soundtrack and cheesy sixties/seventies costumes. But all of that is just window dressing for the central core of the movie, which is the love/hate relationship between Anita and LCW who show a lot of chemistry with each other. Will they finally get together? Well, this is a romantic comedy, after all, so no surprises there, but the movie gets to where it has to go so effervescently and with so much charm, that I was thoroughly entertained. Strongly recommended!


Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 04/08/2000

This is a movie about movies, as well as a love triangle. In making a film that takes on film as one of its subjects, it would be
possible to make a postmodern movie about movies (see Tom DiCillo's Living in Oblivion). It would also be easy to make a
film lambasting the film industry (see Robert Altman's The Player). Golden Girls does a bit of both of these while focusing on
its dramatic storyline at the same time, interweaving its observations of the film industry with its observations of the
characters' lives.

The movie follows the lives of screenwriter Chun Wai (Lau Ching-Wan) and two actresses who are best friends, glamorous
Lulu (Ada Choi Siu-Fun) and the "plain" Mei Ball (Anita Yuen). Of course, only in the film world could someone as gorgeous
as Anita Yuen be considered plain (see The Truth About Cats and Dogs). It begins with the two actresses as extras in a film
written by Lau Ching-Wan and follows the three of them through increasing success, spanning the mid 60s to the mid 70s.
Lau Ching-Wan is in love with Mei but ends up with Lulu instead. Mei, not finding success in the film industry at first,
leaves to marry her cousin but soon comes back, only to find success playing male roles (is Anita Yuen going to be the next
Brigitte Lin?).

Golden Girls is about the relationships between these characters. The drama comes from Chun Wai's continued pursuit of
Mei, even as he is with Lulu. The film is far from all serious. It uses its inside view of the film industry to make numerous
jokes about film, producers, directors, and actors. One of the best of these is a hilarious spoof of action film conventions. It
also has great moments where the world of film (the world the characters live in) intersects with their lives, as when Chun
Wai writes a screenplay based on his love for Mei Ball, in which Lulu stars! This is postmodern, but gracefully so, without
the pretentiousness sometimes associated with this concept.

This film is graced by gorgeous sets (after all, this is the movies) and wonderful colors. The film is shot in a way that
somehow feels very 60s, particularly in the colors of the film (as opposed to the sets). There are also some hilarious costumes
and hairdos that make us wonder just what they were thinking in the 70s (see Boogie Nights).

Golden Girls is also graced by two very talented actors at their best. Anita Yuen and Lau Ching-Wan are fantastic in their
roles, particularly Anita Yuen. She is so expressive at dispalying the emotions her character is feeling. Ada Choi is not quite
in the same league as these two, but is good in her supporting role. I loved Francis Ng's humrous role as a handsome, vain,
and untalented leading man. He has several of the funniest moments in the film.

While it may poke fun, Golden Girls ultimately celebrates the romance of film, especially in its wonderful self-referential
ending, where it recalls romantic films from a less cynical past. Golden Girls is entirely charming throughout. This is a hard
thing to do in the acutely cinema-aware late 20th century. I give credit to the two leads and the excellent script for creating
such a wonderful film.


Reviewed by: shelly
Date: 12/09/1999

This is the real thing: a terrific 1995 Hong Kong film. It's acomedy-romance movie all about the movies. Lau Ching-Wan is a Chun Wai, screenwriter involved with two actresses: he finds himself livinng with the glamourous Lulu (Ada Choi) but he's in love with her best friend, the far more talented Mei Ball (Anita Yuen). The actions follows this trio from 1965 to 1970, as the young hopefuls become stars, win awards, and try to cope with "true love". Out of this premise comes a goofy, sweet-silly movie that works on many levels: it's a screwball romance that never quite resolves in the direction you expect; it's a nostalgic celebration of movie magic; a satire of the the Hong Kong movie business, star culture, and celebrity; and it's a dazzling little exercise in post-modern irreverence. Which places it, I think, among movies like Jeff Lau's '92 Legendary la Rose Noire. Anita Yuen is wonderful: moving, funny, silly, complex: she can show you a whole range of emotions crossing her face, in one simple close-up. And her chemistry with Lau Ching-Wan is perfect (no surprise here). We're treated to a baroque parade of 60's fashions, music, and hair: kudos to the art directors. The only relatively weak link (and this is a small complaint) is in Joe Ma Wai-Ho's direction: sometimes it felt a bit clunky, unfinished: not quite as accomplished or as original as his brilliant screenplay. The movie is formally quite intricate: scenes of film-making mix with and blur into scenes from fake old movies, and scenes from the characters' "real lives". The movie world and "real life" get jumbled up. We're inside a screenwriter's imagination: it could be the screenwriter character, (Chun Wai), or the actual screenwriter of Golden Girls (Joe Ma Wai-Ho). But it doesn't really matter: in some sense one stands for the other. Like the perspective within an interlocking set of mirrors, we sometimes watch the characters watching a movie in which they play actors playing characters inside yet another movie! This all feels crazy, and it's Hong Kong cinematic boundary-blurring at its best: by the end of the movie (which is so entertaining that you don't really have time to think) the distinctions between actual and fictive, representation and reality have ceased to be all that meaningful. Golden Girls is a little gem: too much fun to be saying as much as it does, but it works, and it's elating to watch.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

They are many references on HK film industry in this film and it is somewhat fun to spot them if one is knowledgable. Make no mistake however that it is but a fictional film history. Perhaps the producers are afraid to offend anyone (many old-timers are still working and respected) so they invented characters and events which are vague familiar but one couldn't exactly pin them to actual persons or events. That might partly explain why the story and characters fail to raise above the ordinary. Despite the (English) title the principle prespective of the movie is from a man (Chun Wai) who might be an imaginary alter-ego of director/writer Joe Ma. (Ma also used Lau Ching-Wan to voice-over his previous film.) On the whole, a rather average film with a few evocative moments.

(6/10)



[Reviewed by Christopher Fu]