Happy Times Reviews

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Derek Elley
Variety
March 27, 2009
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AV Club
January 8, 2003
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Susan Stark
Detroit News
October 11, 2002
A provocative, touching, surprising and obliquely illuminating piece.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Arizona Republic
October 4, 2002
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Janice Page
Boston Globe
September 20, 2002
Not a film to rival To Live, but a fine little amuse-bouche to keep your appetite whetted.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 9, 2002
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Marta Barber
Miami Herald
August 23, 2002
Metaphors abound, but it is easy to take this film at face value and enjoy its slightly humorous and tender story.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Sime
Dallas Morning News
August 22, 2002
The performances are winning all around. And the comic, slice-of-life feel is charming, but takes a hike as the film progresses.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
August 9, 2002
The film's maudlin focus on the young woman's infirmity and her naive dreams play like the worst kind of Hollywood heart-string plucking.
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
August 9, 2002
An engaging and specific portrait of a culture in transition, even as it evokes humanity's most universal and timeless values.
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Malene Arpe
Toronto Star
August 9, 2002
A bittersweet contemporary comedy about benevolent deception, which, while it may not rival the filmmaker's period pieces, is still very much worth seeing.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
August 9, 2002
Gently humorous and touching.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Jennie Punter
Globe and Mail
August 9, 2002
A tale of unlikely friendship in an increasingly uncaring world.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
August 9, 2002
To me, it sounds like a cruel deception carried out by men of marginal intelligence, with reactionary ideas about women and a total lack of empathy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
August 8, 2002
Endows humanist cinema with a heroic moral dimension.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
August 8, 2002
This is a film, like City Lights, that blends darkness and light, laughter and tears -- expertly and with love.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
August 2, 2002
One feels the dimming of a certain ambition, but in its place a sweetness, clarity and emotional openness that recalls the classics of early Italian neorealism.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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John Hartl
Seattle Times
August 2, 2002
Occasionally funny and consistently odd, and it works reasonably well as a star vehicle for Zhao.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
July 28, 2002
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
July 26, 2002
Sentimentality and the comedy of deception conspire to enchanting effect.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
July 26, 2002
The movie is best when it's deadpan, before it veers from O. Henry irony to Chaplin pathos.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
July 26, 2002
Worth watching for Dong Jie's performance -- and for the way it documents a culture in the throes of rapid change.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
July 26, 2002
Simultaneously poignant, engagingly funny and bittersweet, it mixes its elements in a way that is completely its own.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
July 25, 2002
Wise, gentle and sad.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Mark Olsen
L.A. Weekly
July 25, 2002
Anchored by two fine performances, this bittersweet comedy about second chances just might signal a new beginning for the director as well.
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Mike D'Angelo
Time Out
July 23, 2002
A mawkish, implausible platonic romance that makes Chaplin's City Lights seem dispassionate by comparison.
Full Review | Original Score: 46/100
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Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
July 23, 2002
That Zhang would make such a strainingly cute film -- with a blind orphan at its center, no less -- indicates where his ambitions have wandered.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
April 9, 2002
With an expressive face reminiscent of Gong Li and a vivid personality like Zhang Ziyi's, Dong stakes out the emotional heart of Happy.