Seventeen Years (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

Seventeen Years (1999)





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Movie Info

In this drama, a woman seeks reconciliation with her family after an act of shocking violence, though forgiveness may not be forthcoming. Two divorced single parents (Liang Song and Le Yeping) marry, each bringing with them a teenage daughter. Xiaoqin (Li Jun), Mother's daughter, is strong-willed and proudly working-class, intending to get a job in a factory when she finishes school. Xiaolan (Liu Lin), a bit younger and Father's child, is more intellectual and hopes to go on to college. One day, a petty argument between the step-sisters over some change turns ugly; Xiaolan hits Xiaoqiun over the head with a stick, and to the shock of everyone Xiaoqiun dies. Xiaolan is convicted of murder and sentenced to a long stay in prison; after 17 years, a handful of prisoners are released on furlough for New Years, including Xiaolan. When Xiaolan's parents don't arrive to pick her up, she's left stranded; a guard, Chen Jie (Li Bingbing), takes pity on Xiaolan and offers to give her a ride home. However, they soon discover Xiaolan's home has been torn down and her folks have moved. Chen Jie is determined Xiaolan will spend New Year with her family, though Xiaolan herself starts to wonder if they have any desire to see her. Guonian Huijia marked something of a comeback for director Zhang Yuan after several projects that caused him run-ins with the Chinese government; this film was released concurrently with his documentary feature Crazy English. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Seventeen Years

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Audience Reviews for Seventeen Years


A good Chinese human drama from one of China's best directors today, Yuan Zhang. Since his debut, Zhang, well known as one of the 6th generation Chinese directors, sets the family and traditional Chinese Confucian moral as the center theme of his films as he does in this one. Simple and calm style of story-telling without dramatic developments or emotional scores is Zhang's specialty. Very well planed camera-work and sound design are great. Zhang is really good at catching the atmosphere of Chinese big cities, especially Beijing. In terms of both theme and technique, this film is his milestone. All actors are great, but especially Bing-Bing Li, now one of the top stars in China, shows her solid potential as an actress.

Naoya Kugimiya
Naoya Kugimiya

A very touching film of step-sibling rivalry where the good daughter is not always as good as she seems and the bad daughter is not always as bad as she seems. A step-father being able to forgive and to learn to love the step-child who murdered his only biological child is a amazing journey and one that is not necessarily expected.

Nicholas Stanosheck
Nicholas Stanosheck

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