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Comrades, Almost a Love Story (1997)

Cast: Irene Tsu, Irene Tsu, Christopher Doyle, more...
Director: Peter Chan, Peter Chan
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Tai Seng
Genre: Foreign, Romantic Comedy, Hong Kong
Running Time: 116 min.
Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English
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Destiny brings two people together, but they aren't sure if they're meant to be friends or lovers in this romantic comedy-drama. In 1986, Xiaojun (Leon Lai) arrives in Hong Kong from mainland China, full of dreams about life in the big city and determined to make enough money to send for his fiancée and marry her. Xiaojun knows no one in Hong Kong except his aunt, but with her help, he finds a room in a cheap hotel and picks up a job peddling a delivery bicycle for a butcher. On his day off, Xiaojun decides to get lunch at a McDonalds, which he's heard about but never seen. Xiaojun is waited on by Chiao (Maggie Cheung), a pretty girl who has also moved to Hong Kong from the mainland to seek her fortune. Chiao is taken with Xiaojun, but thinks he's too much the country bumpkin, especially since he can't speak Cantonese or English. Chiao arranges for Xiaojun to get lessons in English and teaches him about life in Hong Kong and how to get rich quick; she also ropes him into helping with her latest business scheme, using his delivery bike to sell flowers. Xiaojun and Chiao become best friends -- indeed, each is the only real friend the other has in Hong Kong -- and one night, on New Year's Eve, the two find themselves alone together and end up making love. The next morning, both Xiaojun and Chiao are certain they've made a mistake; Xiaojun goes on to marry his sweetheart from home, while Chiao opens a flower shop and becomes involved with a kind man who has ties to organized crime. As the years pass, however, Xiaojun becomes convinced that his mistake wasn't sleeping with Chiao, but letting her go, and eventually he decides he must find her and win her heart. Comrades: Almost a Love Story was a runaway success in Hong Kong, where the film won nine trophies at the 1997 Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Actress. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Not "Almost" by talltale May 28, 2004 - 5:39 AM PDT
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
I'm a sucker for a good romance, and COMRADES, ALMOST A LOVE STORY fills this bill nicely. An added treat is the foreign locale and the chance to see Hong Kong as mirrored through the eyes of two young people from Mainland China. As another reviewer points out, Maggie Cheung (who I enjoy more with each new role) is simply amazing: what a performance! I didn't have a problem with the male lead, however. Having not seen him previously, I thought he did full justice to his role. All the characters are nicely shaded here (including the criminal Cheung hooks up with), and the film is full of wonderful little touches (like the car horn suddenly honking) that help create a real world, rather than simply settling for a romantic one. I'm unfamiliar with the songs of Teresa Tang, but the movie did make me appreciate what I heard. I don't recall COMRADES getting a theatrical release in the US. If not, too bad, but all the more reason to give thanks for DVDs.

A beautiful tribute to Teresa Tang by autarch October 23, 2003 - 12:30 PM PDT
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
The Chinese title of this film, "Tian Mi Mi", is from one of Teresa Tang's most well-know songs, which translates as "Sweet Smile" (more or less).

This film, made shortly after Tang's unexpected death, is both a wonderful love story, and a tribute to Teresa Tang's music. Teresa Tang, for those who don't know, was a Taiwanese singer who was hugely popular all throughout East Asia, across multiple generations of listeners.

Comrades features an absolutely amazing performance by Maggie Cheung. Leon Lai, the co-star, can't really keep up with her, but manages a decent performance, a rare event for him. Also notable is Eric Tsang's supporting performance. Eric Tsang is most well-known for his comic performances, but he's a gifted actor with a huge range, as he demonstrates in this film.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.87)
47 Votes
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An Intro to Chinese Movies (No kicking)
To my mind, the world's best films.

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