Us and Them 后来的我们 (2018) - China
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (FCCA)
Marking the directorial debut of actress turned director Rene Liu and the return of the beautiful lens of Mark Lee behind the works like In the Mood for Love. Us and Them is one of those rare Chinese films where the feelings of regret and dreams within modern urban life merges into an universally appealing cinema. Zhou Dong Yu shines once again in a role tailored made for her talent as she displayed a rounded character that transforms and matured by the end of the film from a spoiled brat to materialistic mistress to understanding love and all. Together with Jing Boran, the duo’s chemistry is almost radiating and totally undeniably making the audience feel for loneliness and regret every moment they are apart.
Films are young love and dealing with the scale and complexity of the Beijing lifestyle and work is really nothing new, but Rene Liu smartly made a beautiful companion piece that stays grounded and focus on human emotions and squarely on the notion of love and growth. Survival and struggles in the big capital city of China act as a catalyst to the eventual breakdown of what could potentially be a fulfilling relationship. Liu does well in creating black spaces for the “today” version as Jing Boran mentioned earlier in the film that without Zhou Dong Yu, their world will be colourless which is figuratively and literally true.
What we should really appreciate is the understated performance from the ageing father of Jing (excellently played by Tian Zhuang Zhuang). The moment tttt spoke with Zhou DouYu about his initial regrets of introducing video games to his soon as a kid, which may have led to his pursue of unrealistic dream of developing a video game.
All in all, Us and Them largely impresses in the sentimental aspect, the relationships, the regrets and the emotions that consolidate into the kind of film that Rene Liu wanted to portray. The cinematography from Mark Lee is top notch as are the acting throughout. We have all experience this kind of situations and love before, therefore we remember and reflect.
I rated it 8/10