A young boy, Xiao Chun (Tang Yun), proves to be a massive talent when it comes to the violin, so his father (Liu Peigi) helps him find the best teacher in Beijing, far away from their hometown. There, Xiao Chun meets a nightclub worker with a heart of gold and finds true friendship.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

The main criticisms of this film are that it’s a letdown after Kaige’s previous work, which I have not seen, and that it is overly manipulative, with which I vigorously disagree. Certainly, this is an old-fashioned, melodramatic tearjerker, but it earns its sentiment, and a lack of subtlety does not necessarily equal a lack of quality. The sacrifices that drive the plot are convincing. The actors mostly hit the right notes, especially Yun’s eyes in the final seconds. There are very few films that make me cry, but I’m still a pushover for father-son dramas; this one left me weeping.

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