Reviewed by: Stephe
In comparison to the rather leisurely first installment, the
Reviewer Score: 8
melodrama escalates exponentially in A Story of Three Loves Pt. 2.
Street performer Jeanette, who is indebted to Zhao Lei after he
saved her father's life by paying for him to be treated by Western
medicine in Pt. 1, infiltrates the general's mansion under the guise
of the poor Grace's maid in order to secretly help Zhao Lei, and is
forced to sublimate her love for Zhao Lei by helping the poor Grace.
So, too, does the aristocratic woman who looks like the poor Grace
sublimate her love for Zhao Lei by trying to help him despite
learning of his betrothal to the poor Grace and despite wanting to
marry Zhao Lei herself. Trapped by the general and forced to disavow
Zhao Lei, the poor Grace is eventually driven to the point of madness,
and her portrayal goes beyond the shrieking hysterics she displayed
in Pt. 1. Jeanette's role expands as she becomes the new focal point
of the general's attentions.
I ultimately found this two-part film more enjoyable than the two-part
Sun, Moon and Star because I found Zhao Lei's character easier to
identify with than Zhang Yang's drippy, clueless character in Sun, Moon
and Star. Both two-parters are epic love stories about three women in
love with the same man, and both are memorable, but Zhang Yang taints
Sun, Moon and Star with his character. I thought he did much the same
to the ending of The Wild, Wild Rose, actually.
Anyways, the one-note performance Zhao Wei gave in the first half of A
Story of Three Loves gives way to a wider range of emotion as things come
to a boil, and he becomes much more engaging.
Between Tears And Smiles is Shaw Brothers' version of this two-part epic.