Ocean Heaven (Haiyang tiantang) (2010)
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Critic Reviews for Ocean Heaven (Haiyang tiantang)
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Audience Reviews for Ocean Heaven (Haiyang tiantang)
This film discussed autism in China and shows how a father struggles to deal with his son's autism whilst also battling demons of his own. What was refreshing the most was seeing Jet Li portray a serious role with no martial arts involved at all. Heartwarming and touching in places. Highly recommended!
Dad is a sea turtle. We're sea turtles. Let's go swimming. Wang is a widowed father that is raising his autistic son. Unfortunately, Wang can't swim. It's unfortunate because his son can swim like a fish. The local aquarium lets his boy swim in the tanks with the ocean life and he finds this activity his own utopia. As Wang gets older he starts becoming ill and is slowly dying. He teaches his son life skills, gets him a job, and teaches him how to live a relatively normal life. Despite not being able to swim, Wang finds a way to incorporate those moments of utopia with a father's love. "He was born into the wrong body and became a man. That's why he's autistic." Xia Lu Xue delivers Ocean Heaven in his directorial debut. The storyline is compelling and very interesting. The character evolution is beautiful and I adored the father/son relationship. I felt the script, scenes, and interactions between characters were all perfect. The cast delivers excellent performances and includes Jet Li, Zhang Wen, Yuan Yuan Gao, and Ran Chen. "You're wanting the same fate too." I grabbed this off Netflix because it starred Jet Li. This actually reminded me of his performance in Unleashed. I loved his acting and the delivery of the father. I felt his struggles and desires for success were endearing and compelling. This is a wonderful movie that is definitely an unexpected must see. "I want to swim." Grade: A+
This film had the potential to be a melodramatic and overly sentimental affair. What with dealing with a terminally ill father trying to ensure his autistic son can take care of himself after he dies. It does still have its sentimental moments, but the film, for the most part, is a sweet and gentle examination on what a father must do to take care of his son. The acting is more than solid with Jet Li turning in an understated performance. He does a good job at portraying a father's worries and frustrations without ever explicitly saying so. The guy who played the son also did a good job, though there was something I didn't like about it. Can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but it's not really an issue, as the story is still strong. The cinematography is downright gorgeous at times, at least the underwater stuff, there was a grace and beauty to it. Perhaps to show what it meant to Dafu and how he saw this as, as corny as it sounds, his little slice of heaven. It's a good contrast to the sensitive direction given to the rest of the film. That's about it really, a film about a very sensitive subject done with intelligence and heart. Still has some melodrama, but it's never a detriment to the entire film.
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