I've been getting a bit tired of coming-of-age films, and not especially thrilled with Hou to begin with, but I liked this anyway. It's more accessible than A Time to Live, and I don't mean "accessible" in a snobby way. I mean it didn't put me to sleep. if you want to go looking for metaphors, you can find plenty, but I think it's meant to be exactly what it is: a simple, honest, genuine snapshot of childhood, and family life through the eyes of children. Quite nice.