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Road Home, The
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by EricDSnider

"A gentle, old-fashioned film with a great deal of heart."
4 stars

"The Road Home" begins its story in a dull, frozen black-and-white. Yusheng (Honglei Sun) is driving to the small Chinese village in which he was raised. He must see to the funeral arrangements for his father, who has died suddenly.

Soon we are whisked into the past, and the color comes in with it. Yusheng narrates for us a story he heard often as a child: his parents' courtship.

His father, Luo Changyu (Hao Zheng), came to the village at age 20 as a new schoolteacher. His mother, Zhao Di (Ziyi Zhang), was 18 years old and immediately smitten with the young, handsome professional.

Their courtship is measured and discreet, but altogether endearing. She looks for excuses to cook for him; he politely accepts the food and looks for ways to express his feelings. Her mother (Bin Li) tells her to forget the teacher, because he's of a much higher class than they are.

Teacher has some "political trouble" (it's 1958, and China is not exactly a free and open society) and must leave town for a while. Di waits for him.

The courtship flashback occupies the bulk of the film and is important to establish what is going on in the present. The old Di (now played by Yuelin Zhao) wants to observe an old custom: She wants to carry her husband's coffin from the city, where he died, back to the village, where he will be buried. The idea is to walk the departed back so he won't forget the way home. This custom, we're told, has not been followed "since the Cultural Revolution."

Director Yimou Zhang also gave us last year's equally charming "Not One Less," also about a schoolteacher and the great worth of every soul.

"The Road Home" is more a love story than anything, but it also speaks gently of the value of teachers and respect for old customs, whether they're reasonable or just superstitious. It is an old-fashioned and heartfelt film.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4387&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/30/01 01:03:32
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User Comments

4/02/11 Glenn ABSOLUTELY STUNNING, stars Zhang Ziyi before she did Crouching Tiger HIdden Dragon. 5 stars
6/13/08 david mack finely crafted and beautifully moving film 4 stars
6/30/04 amelie kirk far from a waste of time 5 stars
2/08/04 Tom J. A perfect love story you will always savor! 5 stars
11/20/03 rony I thought the movie was so sad and very beautiful at the same time. you rock Zhang Ziyi!!!! 5 stars
7/21/03 Chance simple, beautiful, and extremely moving 5 stars
7/12/03 bkbk Moving on so many levels, especially for a teacher. 5 stars
3/29/03 Goofy Maxwell B&W works in the early scenes, but after that stunning hr.-long flashback, it feels flat. 4 stars
3/27/03 Ionicera very pretty but achingly dull 3 stars
10/08/02 Chance This film is sweet, simple, and beautiful 5 stars
1/29/02 The Bomb 69 touching story about love, customs, and a very hot Zhang Ziyi!!! 5 stars
7/26/01 kris Very nice filmmaking. 5 stars
7/08/00 Purple Monster Evocative viewing 5 stars
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Directed by
  Yimou Zhang

Written by
  Shi Bao

  Ziyi Zhang
  Honglei Sun
  Hao Zheng
  Yuelin Zhao
  Bin Li
  Guifa Chang

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