As China continues to muscle in on Hollywood, it does so this time round without the use of any big Hollywood stars, keeping things to themselves, exploring love and time travel.
How Long Will I Love You is a beautifully high concept sci-fi and romance film, fusing the two together in a way that’s innovative and serves to keep both interested parties happy.
As Gu Xiaojiao, Liya Tong (“Detective Chinatown”, “Wild City”), searches for her ideal man, that ideal being rich, and Lu Ming, Jiayin Lei (“Brotherhood Of Blades II: The Infernal Battlefield“, “Wished”), strives to become a great architect, their two disparate lives are thrust together by a science experiment gone wrong.
In present day China, Ming is working with a mad scientist to be sent 19 years into the future, to steal tech and bring it back to the present day. But things go wrong, and they instead open a portal 19-years to the past and fuse together Ming and Xiaojiao’s lives, and apartments.
This odd-couple have more in common then they care to share with each other initially, but they are thrust together and must make the most of things, so they do. Xiaojiao gets to visit her old family home whilst Ming gets a glimpse of the future.
Writer and director Su Lun (“Lips And Soul”) handles everything with aplomb, selecting vivid colours and dreary rain to distinguish our two times apart whilst opting for double-denim and Nokia phones for the past and iPhones and floating speakers for the future.
The sets can remind you of Hollywood of old, for some reason I had Little Shop Of Horrors spring to mind, but they’re cute and add to the nice fuzzy feeling the movie gives off as a whole.
The pair discover that, via their fused front door, they can visit either 2018 or 1999, but they can’t visit themselves or do anything like win the lottery to make themselves rich.
When they discover that, in the future, Ming is the famous architect he always wants to be, and rich, it’s seen as a win-win for everyone if Xiaojiao leaves him to it and meets him in the future. But their lives are more intertwined then they could ever no, and things are never that simple.
How Long Will I Love You is a romance story primarily, the sci-fi does take a backseat somewhat, occasionally popping up to explain a few things where necessary.
Tong and Lei work seamlessly together, an obvious chemistry sparks between the two characters as they have fun expecting a large windfall of money. Tong must play himself in the past and in the future, but as two very different characters, and does so very well.
The pair will have you laughing and you want them to succeed by the end of the movie, you want them to be together, the pair grab you and take you on this journey of their lives that is very endearing.
China are certainly showing they can make movies just as good, if not better, than what a lot of Hollywood turns out. They aren’t afraid to gamble, to push the envelope and take some risks and this is where Hollywood has gone a little stale.
The movie industry is too scared to take risks, to try something different, China on the other hand, has no such qualms and, whilst it doesn’t always work, it has with How Long Will I Love You.