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Zui hao de shi guang (Three Times) (2005)

tomatometer

86

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 50
Fresh: 43 | Rotten: 7

Slowly paced, understated, and exquisitely shot, these are three lovely odes to love and longing.

88

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 3

Slowly paced, understated, and exquisitely shot, these are three lovely odes to love and longing.

audience

70

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 5,551

My Rating

Movie Info

Millennium Mambo director Hou Hsiao-hsien explores the ever-changing cycle of love in this collection of three romantic stories set in 1911, 1966, and 2005 and utilizing the same actors in all three tales. In "A Time for Love," a fresh-faced soldier boy named Chen (Chang Chen) searches for a pool hall hostess named May (Shu Qi) who captured his heart before disappearing into the crowd. The second tale, set against the backdrop of the Japanese occupation of Taiwan and entitled "A Time for

Sep 26, 2006

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All Critics (56) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (43) | Rotten (7) | DVD (3)

A ravishing triptych spanning a century of Taiwanese history, in which love remains eternally elusive.

September 14, 2006
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An emotional journey, a showcase for two fine actors, and a multifaceted picture of love.

July 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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A film to get lost in, a fragmentary, impressionistic trilogy of fleeting moments of love that is one of the best films of the year.

July 7, 2006 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Seen in isolation, the first episode has the most satisfying plot and the last the least. But the film's achievement lies mostly in the beautifully articulated similarities and differences among the three.

June 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Three varieties of love: unfulfilled, mercenary, meaningless. All photographed with such visual beauty that watching the movie is like holding your breath so the butterfly won't stir.

June 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Great cinema, pop romance that carries a special charge.

June 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lambent

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

If you are easily lulled into a sensuous rhythm of pure cinematic languor, this will satisfy. If not, you may be banging your head against the back of your seat.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

[Hou's] work gains significance due to his specifically tying this theme of love to Taiwan in particular, as opposed to just proposing a general essay on love.

December 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

Hou Hsiao Hsien is quite simply one of the world's premier filmmakers yet his films are lucky to play a few festival dates here in the U.S.

October 28, 2006
KPBS.org

An emotionally understated giant of a love story.

September 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Carefully crafted and bereft of dialogue, Three Times sets the bar high with its opening salvo but can't sustain the momentum.

September 1, 2006
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Assembles all of the major settings of the last 20 years of Hou's career into a single portmanteau of miscommunication and frustrated ardor.

August 6, 2006
Reverse Shot

This is a fascinating exercise in utilising style to make subtle psychological and political statements.

August 4, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Hsiao-Hsien reinforces his excellent cinematography with a bold use of music, featuring The Platters' Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, but ultimately the running time could have been halved and he would still have made his point.

August 1, 2006 Full Review Source: BBC.com
BBC.com

The style is pure Hou: richly textured atmosphere, tiptoeing camerawork and long, languorous takes of scenes full of privileged moments of human activity.

July 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Filmmaker Hou Hsiao-Hsien tries to tell three tales of romance during different parts of the 20th and 21st centuries. But he winds up stretching a modestly interesting premise out too long -- over more than two hours.

June 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Zui hao de shi guang (Three Times)

This film is about emotion, not plot. Poetic and beautiful to watch.
December 19, 2007
MovieGeek13

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Three Times" contains three stylish vignettes set in Taiwan in 1966(Time for Love), 1911(Time for Freedom) and 2005(Time for Youth), each starring Qi Shu and Chen Chang playing characters in differing states of infatuation. Each story was made in an attempt to emulate each era's movies, not so much the reality of that time.(Any time period never looks at itself completely honestly, censoring out any forbidden subjects, thus giving truth to the lie that nobody had hot sex before 1969.) Although 1966 owes a lot to Wong Kar Wai, 1911 is done as a silent film complete with intertitles and musical accompaniment, albeit in color. With the earlier times, there is a sense of so close and so far for the couple in question but in 2005 with total freedom, the couple is together but not happy, suggesting that with increased liberty, we are not necessarily any happier than in stricter times. But you know what? I'll take my chances with the present day... [/font]
September 14, 2008
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Love across the ages...been done to death right? Perhaps, but it often isn't done right to death. We have had epics from mainland China and the great action genre of Hong Kong so it is good to see a Taiwanese film adding to Chineses collection. Quite touching.
November 15, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

最好的時光 is carefully emotionally balanced Taiwanese film nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festivalis. The director of this wonderfully executed story triptich is Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Featuring three chronologically separate stories of love between May and Chen, which he sets in 1911, 1966 and 2005, using the same lead actors, very talented and charming Shu Qi and Chang Chen, we are introduced to three varieties of love: unfulfilled, mercenary, meaningless. The best part of this art work is the photography which was done with such visual beauty "that watching the movie is like holding your breath so the butterfly won't stir" (that was form the Chicago Sun critic)!

Even the famous Jim Jarmusch said that "Hou Hsiao-Hsien is not only the crowning jewel of contemporary Taiwanese cinema, but an international treasure" and for him "His films are... among the most inspiring of the past thirty years, and his grace and subtlety as a filmmaker remain unrivaled." I agree to a degree!
January 31, 2011
PantaOz
Panta Oz

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Three Times (DE)
  • Three Times (Zui hao de shi guang) (UK)
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