Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lost in Time (Hong Kong 2003)

To say that life, at times, can be really hard would be an understatement. No matter how much you try and plan things out, life just has a way of throwing everything off course. Lost in Time (忘不了) is a movie that shows us just how difficult life can be, and how things don't always go as planned. If this movie doesn't get an emotional response out of you, then you just might not have a heart.

Everything seems to be perfect for Siu Wai (Cecilia Chung), and Man (Louis Koo, aka: the man with the tan). They are both happily in love, and are well on their way to getting married. However, as is often the case with most drama's from the Asian region, tragedy must rear it's ugly head in order for things to really get going. In true fashion, disaster strikes when Man is on the job driving his minibus. A truck comes out of nowhere and smashes right into Man's minibus, almost killing him instantly. A fellow minibus driver, Dai Fai (Lau Ching Wan), witnesses the horrific event and tries to help Man out of the wreckage. Man's dying request was to call Siu Wai, but he wasn't able to hold out long enough. Dai Fai finds himself at the hospital, getting a cut from the broken glass taken care of, when he realizes that he's holding on to Man's cellphone. He checks the phone to realize that Siu Wai had tried calling Man numerous times, but to no avail. Dai Fai calls the number on the caller id and hears a cell phone ringing in the hospital. Coincidentally, Siu Wai is arriving at the hospital, fearful that something terrible has happened to Man. For a fleeting moment she thinks Man is fine when her cell phone rings and it's from Man's number. After meeting with the doctors, the grim realization begins to sink in. Siu Wai is having difficulty dealing with Man's passing, and struggles to perform day-to-day activities. To make matters worse, Man left behind his five-year-old son Lok Lok (Daichi Harashima), and Siu Wai is in no condition to properly raise him. Siu Wai goes to the bus terminal where Man worked and offers to pay to get Man's old minibus fixed. She takes over Man's old route in what appears to be an attempt to help her through the grieving process, while having a need to pay the bills as well. Throughout this process, Dai Fai is there to offer encouraging words, be a shoulder to lean on, as well as providing guidance in the stressful environment of minibus driving. Siu Wai really struggles adjusting to the stressful work schedule, and trying to raise a son. Her parents, and sister, stick their nose in things by telling her she'd be better off giving Lok Lok to his relatives and that she can never survive at the pace she's going at. Siu Wai blows off the negativity and continues to battle on for the sake of Lok Lok and the memory of Man. Pretty soon, Dai Fai is spending time with Siu Wai and Lok Lok outside of the workplace, and seems to really enjoy having a family to be with and take care of. It's obvious that Dai Fai really wants to "rescue" Siu Wai and Lok Lok, and he shows it by buying them everything they could possibly want or need. Siu Wai begins to look at Dai Fai in a whole new light, and everyone seems to be genuinely happy. Does Dai Fai really love Siu Wai, or does he just feel sorry for the struggling single mother? It seems that Dai Fai may not have been entirely honest with Siu Wai and Lok Lok, and it could do some damage to the relationship that was starting to build.

First things first, the acting in Lost in Time is top-notch. You probably won't find better performances (at least not recently) out of Cecilia Chung and Lau Ching Wan. Oh, and little Daichi Harashima was a lot of fun and couldn't possibly be any cuter. Lost in Time has a lot of emotion in it, and at times these emotions are running full-speed-ahead! One particular scene where Siu Wai is trying to figure out what she's going to do with Lok Lok, and whether she can continue raising him is incredibly emotional. Cecilia Chung earned a mental "Bravo!" from me when I watched this. The story is something that's been told before, but the ideal of raising a child on your own is a realistic one, and the film does an excellent job at showing just how difficult raising a child on your own can be. I felt, at times, that the story had a bit of an "underdog" feel to it, because you find yourself really pulling for Siu Wai and wanting her to succeed. The ending has a little bit of a twist to it, but nothing that feels out-of-place or inappropriate. In fact, seeing the "revelation" at the end gives you a lot of insight about the actions of Dai Fai. Even though the movie is rooted in emotion, none of it felt over-the-top or unnecessary. You can really empathize with everything that's going on with the main characters.

I can whole-heartedly give my full recommendation to those out there who haven't had the pleasure of seeing this film. However, a word of warning for you all you sensitive types out there: you may want to bring some tissue. (Lee)

Grade: A

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