For the closing night of the 2015 spring showcase of the Hawaii International Film Festival, the 2014 Chinese film Coming Home was presented. Personally, I wouldn’t have chosen to watch this film because I assumed that it would mostly focus on war, but that wasn’t the case.
Coming Home is an adaptation of the novel The Criminal Lu Yanshi which surrounds a professor who was sent to a labor reform camp during the Cultural Revolution. When the revolution ends, Lu returns to his home only to find that his wife is now ill and is unwilling to see their daughter. Lu works hard to piece back his broken family, but the results aren’t what he hoped for.
The first thing I have to say about the film is the fact that the mood is nothing less that melancholy. The colors used throughout are very cool and gray, which makes sense due to the time period. Even the weather seemed to fit the mood of the film with it being either cloudy or rainy throughout the whole film. Actually, I only noticed that the day seemed to be sunny when Lu and his wife Yu were in contact with each other. I wonder if this was intentional on the film makers’ part.
What I really enjoyed was the acting in this film. Gong Li was very convincing in portraying a woman who was traumatized during her life in the Cultural Revolution and as a wife who was endlessly waiting for her husband to return home. I think this, along with a good plot, made this film easier to sitck with.
I was turned off a bit from some of the editing, however. There were certain scenes that I thought could have been cut by a few frames, some that could have been edited out, and certain scenes that didn’t seem to flow to the next scene. I think that if I were to have ignored these things, I probably would have enjoyed the film a bit more.
Overall, I would recommend this film if you’re prepared for a not-so-happy ending type of movie. It is a romance film but not in a way that would be a good idea for a first date film, I believe.