Happy Times - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Happy Times Reviews

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June 28, 2014
Muy linda historia, simple y divertida. Super recomendada
November 5, 2013
Yimou keeps on alternating between big and small. Hero and House of Flying Daggers one day, Story of Qi Ji next. This time a very small comedy with amongst others one very big lady, actually named Chunky Mama in the subtitles, I kid you not. Super humanistic message, akin to the Italian neorealists of the late forties and the fifties, hits home when you see the smile on the blind girls face right at the end. It's rare when the final scene of a movie gets to safe the whole thing, so cherish this one because of this rarity.
November 4, 2013
I always like to say something positive to begin a review but with this film, I find it very difficult to find some redeeming qualities. The idea has potential but the movie never gains momentum in any meaningful direction. A man desperate to marry makes up all kinds of lies to attract a woman and instead gets left to care for her blind stepdaughter. A friendship develops between the step daughter and the man meanwhile the lies to attract the step Mom continues to grow. As we all know, lying isn't the best policy and the story follows the main characters demise.
September 17, 2011
Very similar to Chaplin's City Lights, a light-hearted tale about a man in his fifties trying to deceive a chubby woman into marrying him. Once the lies become more and more outrageous, he develops a bond with her adopted blind daughter.

The story starts off as a weird comedy, with this man trying to make money. Then he develops a bond with the girl, and then it becomes a good story. It doesn't resolve itself well in the end, but it walks away with a good message and an optimistic view for the characters.
½ March 10, 2011
simple yet hilariously moving plot set in rural modern China
½ November 24, 2010
Happy Times has some of the funniest bits I've seen in a long time. It's also one of the most poignant films I've seen in a while, but maybe I'm easily moved from laughter to tears.

For most of the film, I was on a happy and heartfelt ride with a cast of mostly sympathetic characters charmingly dealing with their dilemma. But then, when I was completely involved with the characters and their mutual predicament, and expecting an ending in accord with the comedic tone of the film, Happy Times wasn't funny anymore. In fact, I was surprised to see the credits roll immediately after tragedy struck.

Here's a film that needs an alternate ending in the bonus material. Or better yet, just don't watch the last scene and make something up yourself. Trust me, you'll feel better.
November 24, 2010
It is funny enough to ridiculous a thing called love. No matter how hard you try, you'll end up screwing up everything. This old man tries harder than anyone could ever imagine to have something precious in his last age, something he should have tired of for a long time: he tries to be married, in a way he could stage the future. What's he get? Nothing but trouble. He has to keep his head up or he'll lose his long-time-coming lover. He doesn't understand what mutual love is except the sacrifice part. But on the other side, his effort has become a pursuit of hope for another person. Wu Ying, in her own state, can't help but accept that she troubles her step-mother. She hopes to find her father and cure her blindness, but along the way, she learns about being with a true family, Manager Zhao and his friends. She was hopeless and nearly suicidal, but then she gained a new light.
The film isn't about comedy at all, but somehow, it isn't about tragedy, too. It is warm enough to let us laugh and calm enough to get us touched. The performance is quite convincing, but the script is not intriguing. Overall, the neo realist film is a fine work, but not Yimou's best.
½ November 22, 2010
nice one ..
Dong was chosen among 40,000 girls who applied on the internet for the role of a blind girl
she's really good at acting..
June 11, 2010
Absolutely wonderful bittersweet drama from Zhang.
½ June 2, 2010
you must watch.........I love it...!!!!!!
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2010
Cute little film. I was glad to see it after mainly seeing "epics" coming out of China.
½ November 13, 2009
A heartfelt comedy fused with a healthy dose of drama, Happy Times (Chinese title: Xingfu Shiguang) does a good job of mixing genres while it remains entertaining and touching at the same time.

In an effort to win the hand of a 'chunky' woman (Lifan Dong), Zhao (Benshan Zhao) claims he runs the Happy Times Hotel, when in reality, he's a retired factory worker, and his 'hotel' is actually an old bus painted red inside by Zhao and his American obsessed friend, Little Fu (Biao Fu). They call the bus Happy Times Hut and intend to charge lovers a fee to use it, in the hope of raising 50 grand so Zhao can marry his 'chunky' love interest. In the end, Zhao isn't thrilled with the bus idea and won't let the couples close the door, which brings a quick end to the Happy Times Hut.

Meanwhile the 'chunky' woman, who lives with her overweight son (Qibin Leng) and blind stepdaughter, Wu Ying (Jie Dong), convinces Zhao to give Wu Ying a job at his 'hotel' to keep her out of the house and out of her hair. Zhao quickly finds himself playing the role of boss and caring father figure to Ying as he and his co-worker friends create a faux pa massage parlor in which Ying can work.

As with Yimou Zhang's other films, Happy Times is filmed in Chinese with English subtitles. Although many people shy away from subtitled foreign films, I find that after watching several of them, it's no longer an issue. Anymore, it's sometimes difficult to remember which films were dubbed and which were subtitled.

From films like the critically acclaimed Raise the Red Lantern (1991), it's apparent Zhang can do drama, however, with Happy Times we see he has a knack for comedy as well. The comedy is well timed, there's even a few sight gags along the way, such as Fu's Popeye shirt.

The 'father-daughter' relationship which grows between Zhao and Ying is not only a touching story, but provides many laughs along the way. Both are great actors and bring life to their characters. The addition of Fu and Zhao's other friends, gives the film a sense of comradery. Also, the scenes with the chunky stepmother and her chunky son are entertaining as well.

Despite the title, Happy Times is not all happy, but it is a really good film full of great acting, great comedy, and a story that will keep you intrigued, right up to the credit roll.
October 3, 2009
I know modern Chinese cinema has a penchant for some sad stories, but damn. The story basically follows some older schmuck who is desperate to land himself a wife, and he and his friends turn all of their efforts to that end. Somehow he ends up being responsible for a blind girl, and from there the movie is actually quite funny and sweet. But the ending, jesus. Don't ever watch this movie with a bottle of jack and a handgun.
½ September 4, 2009
Not really funny, but so sad.
August 12, 2009
it's the opposite of its title
July 25, 2009
Very touching story, showing that deceit does not always come from bad intentions. Every character is so real, even including Zhao's "wen nuan" girlfriend and her son. There were moments that made me laugh, and moments that brought tears to my eyes, so I say this movie is definitely worth watching.
Super Reviewer
June 26, 2009
Magical. Quirky and very different to Yimou Zhangs other films.
May 5, 2009
Not as funny as I thought it was gonna be. As the movie goes on and the plot snowballs into a bigger and bigger mess it gets better. I really liked the characters they wanted me to like and hated the ones they wanted me to hate. But man... that ending was way depressing.
½ May 4, 2009
A very touchingly told story...it tries to explore the vulnerability of Mandarin Chinese urbaners, a topic that rarely get explored in east asian films. The filmmaker's social conscience is admirable too.
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