Tears and Triumph


Director: David Lam
Year: 1994

Not long after the box office success of Ces’t La Vie Mon Cherie, Anita Yuen and Lau Ching-wan were paired up again in this film but without quite the artistic or financial success. This is a very talky family drama that never allows itself to soar emotionally and keeps its narrative to a slow dense crawl. It is a poorly written script that may have worked better on a Hong Kong soap opera than on the big screen. What makes one stay with it though is simply the easy going chemistry between the leads and the fresh faced loveliness of Anita with more delectable close-ups than Big Mac servings at your local McD’s.
 


Ming Jun (Anita) is a single (pre-marital as the subtitles put it) mom who has managed to work her way up through the corporate structure to being a division head with the respect of everyone. In flashbacks we see that her old boyfriend Se-cheng (Frankie Lam) did a runner as soon as he found out she was pregnant because he feared this would tie him down and hurt his career. Then one day her boss (Wai Gei-shun) gathers everyone together and tells them that the company has been sold to the wealthy Xie family and that they will all have two new directors, the son and the son-in-law of the family. Ming Jun is soon introduced to the son-in-law and she is shocked (though the audience less so as this film turns into co-incidence central) to see her old boyfriend who managed to marry into the Xie family and has his sights on running it one day. He is your basic scumbag – first he tries to talk Anita into becoming his mistress with a house way out in Stanley and then sets her up for a fall within the company by planting evidence of criminal wrongdoing on her.
 



In the meantime though the son Shi-wen (Lau Ching-wan) shows up and takes about a nanosecond to fall in love with Ming Jun. Who can blame him really? And nothing deters him from her – not the kid, not the charges, not finding out who the father is, not the family’s disapproval – nothing – because he is a boy in love. The family though is a snake pit as it turns out - Shi-wen’s mother is a second wife (Hui Fan) and the first wife (the legendary Pak Yan) wants the control of the company to go to her daughter (Tamara Guo) who is married to the scumbag. The talk comes faster than bullets in a John Woo film and I was having a hard time keeping up with all the backstabbing – but throughout Anita shined like a firefly on parade. Others appearing here are Cutie Mui Siu-wai as Anita’s buddy, Donna Chu as the doctor and co-incidentally Shi-wen’s sister and Chung King-fai as his father.


 


I was surprised to see that Shi-wen's house had an entry very much like mine.
 
 


My rating for this film: 5.5