Changhen ge (Everlasting Regret) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Changhen ge (Everlasting Regret) Reviews

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½ January 12, 2011
I don't know if there is any particular reason for the short & rapid shots editing throughout the whole feature, which left no room for viewers to feel & think further. And I am not sure if it was Wang Anyi's original portrayal in her novel, all characters here are so superficially developed including Wang Qiyao, the very core character played by Sammi Cheng. As a consequence, no matter how hard Cheng had tried, there were just something missing here & there; not mentioning Cheng's incapability to fully handle her role, especially the older part. I believe Stanley Kwan, too, had tried hard to capture the periodic Shanghai ambience but somehow he just lacks the indigenous blood flowing inside those real, native contemporary Chinese filmmakers.
½ June 21, 2010
Stanley Kwan's ambitious but mysteriously reserved adaptation of Wang Anyi's novel raises some questions about the influence of Chinese censorship on the end result. Kwan's giant steps through the life of Qiyao and Chinese modern history gives the picture a rather butchered appearance, but simply blaming the censors is perhaps unfair. Kwan most likely tries to fit in too much in his movie, and while struggling with the epic proportions of the story, loses the grip on the characters and the melodramatic turns in life and history they are involved in. Sammi Cheng does a carreer-turning performance here, but should perhaps have benefitted from having a less demanding guide than Kwan. The inconsistent, strangely distant and at times even unlikeable character of Qiyao is certainly not the most obvious part for an ex-romcom actress to take on. The incredibly detailed art direction by magician William Cheung is spot on and as much a reason as any to adore this picture.
February 24, 2010
Well made movie with excellent acting, smooth flowing plot and stylish cinematography. Sammi Cheng did an exceptional job of portraying the protagonist while Tony Leung outdid himself in the role of Mr. Cheng.
January 28, 2010
A film unconcentrated in theme.
½ January 16, 2010
Very draggy and the characters aren't developed very well. Although I loved the artsy visuals and sounds for this timepiece that took place in Shanghai throughout the 40s to the 80s.
January 15, 2010
found it really boring.
½ January 5, 2010
boring movie good costume and location/sets
½ January 3, 2010
a different feeling to mi when i watched last nite
November 7, 2009
Way too draggy for me, and seems a little pointless in the end.
½ June 17, 2009
OMG is there any way to rate this film by NOT giving ANY bit of a star???? Who was stupid enough to cast (an aging) Sammi as a young Shanghainese pageant winner? Who, who WHO got that drunk????
April 24, 2009
the movie itself is a good retro presentation!

but Sammi's acting SUCKS, because the movie is boring, no need for her to act out any other emotions!
½ April 23, 2009
i know sammi cheng is very work hard in this movie...but sorry, it's really very boring ....i m not saying she acted no good in this...
but just the story make it slow slow slow slow , & too much frozen time...
sorry, i don't like this movie...but i know they all act fine in this !
½ February 24, 2009
I can understand why Sammi Cheng took 3 years off after this movie. Sammi's normally bubbly personality gets restrained here, and the result is very boring. honestly, the only Stanley Kwan film I've seen that I can fully recommend is Rouge. most of his other work looks great, but tends to be surprisingly boring. Daniel Wu's potential is wasted here in a brief dubbed part, and the characters are introduced and then done away with so quickly, you really don't care about what happens to any of them. I realize that Stanley Kwan was trying to relate one woman's changes and life choices to the city of Shanghai, but the result is a failure. even the editing looked terrible at times. the only thing good I can say about this was William Cheung's art direction, which is up to his usual standards. everbody else wasted their time!
½ June 28, 2008
One of my favourites, I could relate the story to some one I know.
May 23, 2008
A bad script.Characters come and go, are born and die, appear and disappear so easily, and not noticeably like they don't matter! The ending is bad as well.
½ February 3, 2008
I cant agree this is a good one. It's a tough task itself to brief the story of a girl under the revolutionary era for about 30 yrs. I didn't read the book but I guess too many details must have been neglect .. as the result.. i am not sure what points they want to tell the audiences..
December 28, 2007
best actress, to be.
November 19, 2007
I don't know why this movie was reviewed so badly. It's ambitious in scope and maybe doesn't succeed at its ambitions, but that doesn't mean it isn't successful on other levels. At its core it's a highly compelling melodrama.
November 15, 2007
I read the book, so I wanted to watch the movie. Sammi Cheng's mandarine still needs improvement. You fell aleep during the show. Only one sentence is remembered: "wait for me, I'll be back!" All men's fake promise.
October 16, 2005
I suppose I should have known what I was getting into with [b]Everlasting Regret[/b], what with the recent spate of deliberately arty films (see Kar-Wai, Wong and the last three films he's made, if not his entire oeuvre) that thrill in creating a throbbing, romantic atmosphere with deliberately minimalist dialogue, the emptiness instead filled with long, profound silences. Eventually someone would have to get it wrong, and I'm afraid that, in this particular instance, director Stanley Kwan comes up quite a bit shorter than his contemporary.

[size=1](Note of advice: spoilers abound in the synopsis that follows, as there's very little point summarising the movie otherwise, but I'd advise you to skip the whole next paragraph, as you'll possibly find yourself even more bored with the interminable silences without the prospect of at least finding out what happens next in the movie. I've kept the ending a secret, of course, but I've also summarised the first two-thirds of the story fairly accurately.)[/size]

We follow the changing fortunes and loves of Wang Qiyao (Sammi Cheng), a young girl growing up in Shanghai in the turbulent 1950s. Through a friend, she's introduced to studio photographer Cheng (Tony Leung Ka Fai), who from this moment of meeting, lights a torch for her that he carries for her to the end of their lives. However, in urging her to join the Miss Shanghai pageant, Cheng unwittingly introduces her to her first love Li, an army officer who quickly takes a shine to the young ingenue, and shacks up with her in short order. However, the young lovers are torn apart when Li has to go into hiding for his life, and Qiyao's life crumbles. With the care of her friends, she eventually picks herself up and begins an intimate relationship with Ming (Daniel Wu), who loves her so deeply and desperately that it makes their eventual separation when he has to go work in Hong Kong all the more painful and difficult. Left with a young daughter and no man to officially take care of her, Qiyao weds a stranger who's dying of a terminal illness, so that she can avoid the ignominy of being labelled a loose woman, and he can die with the family name still intact. Through all this, Qiyao's sham of a marriage falls apart, but his reticence about his feelings for Qiyao remains, right until he provides lodging for Kela (Huang Jue), a friend of his from the rural parts of China and Qiyao's final, most dangerous paramour.

Now, I will readily admit that my own lack of knowledge of Chinese history of the period probably meant that I enjoyed the film a lot less than I would have done otherwise. Tantalising hints of a rich and complex history are scattered throughout the film: Li fleeing for his life as the Communists take over China, or Qiyao's daughter gaily singing a song idolising Chairman Mao. But I do feel that, even with an all-encompassing grasp of China's tumultous past at that time, the film's narrative is so poorly-handled that it's difficult to form much of an emotional attachment to either the characters or their relationships. Kwan opts for a distinctly episodic approach: we're basically handled three bundles of vignettes, all loosely clustered around each of Qiyao's significant others, but time in between each bundle becomes remarkably elastic. With no helpful timestamps and the frustrating tendency to cram--in a not very artful manner!--a decade of history into two words of dialogue or a suddenly newly-grown-up daughter, [b]Regret[/b] becomes tediously oblique. This is exacerbated by the hopelessly youthful Qiyao: for some reason, the make-up department does a remarkably good job aging Leung, but leaves Sammi Cheng mostly uncreased and with the same glowing skin of a twenty-year-old in what must at least be her fifties. To Sammi Cheng's credit, she does put on 8 kg for the role to play Qiyao in her later years, but honestly, 8 kg on a 45-kg frame isn't much, so she still appears deceptively, disturbingly young even as Leung becomes increasingly decrepit. In the end, it becomes difficult to form an emotional attachment to most of the characters in this troubled story, as the film drifts from scene to scene without a firm grounding in either art or emotion.

It's probably unfair to criticise Sammi Cheng too much for this (although her faintly accented Mandarin made it difficult for me to buy her as a China-woman); in fact, her performance was surprising in the amount of raw emotional depth she revealed in one especially startling scene. (You'll know which one it is when you see it: it's the only other scene in the movie that pulses with anything approaching a dramatic pace. Reportedly, the actress spent a good long time huddled in a corner and crying helplessly after filming the scene, to ride out the emotional rip tide.) Unfortunately for her, Sammi Cheng isn't given very much to do, aside from stare blankly into the middle distance to give the impression of a mind and heart laden with woe and longing. This is compounded by the fact that Qiyao is such a curiously unfriendly character--it's difficult to muster up much empathy for a woman whose motives remain so clouded, and yet leaves each tattered relationship more damaged and desperate than when she entered it. The focal point of the film, and in fact the story, turns out to be the faithful Cheng, on whose relentlessly undampened, resolutely unreciprocated love the entire film hangs. It's to Leung's credit that he presents here the one character filled with such hopeless, deep and profound longing that it really does feel as if he's wandered in from the set of Wong's latest film. The film is not without some nice touches which help Leung in this--what started out as a strangely jarring moment when Qiyao and her chum Lili break into song at the dinner table, becomes remarkably more poignant when the drunken Cheng joins them, only to signal to his wife and Ming the deep reserve of love and longing he has long harboured for Qiyao. I did also enjoy Wu's all-too-brief appearance as Ming: he managed to paint his character with such warmth that the rather spineless Ming becomes sympathetic rather than repulsive, with his love for Qiyao evident in the scene where he breaks into heaving sobs during a doomed attempt to bring Qiyao to the abortion clinic.

Closest in feel and aspiration to a Wong film, [b]Regret [/b]unfortunately fails to create either the same arty detachment or emotional depth usually achieved in tandem in Wong's best. Reasonably competent cast aside, we instead get a patchwork ensemble of scenes, some better than others, but mostly, frustratingly, quietly... empty.
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