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      Happy Times

      PG Released Jul 26, 2002 1 hr. 35 min. Comedy List
      72% 61 Reviews Tomatometer 78% 2,500+ Ratings Audience Score Zhao (Benshan Zhao) is a poor, aging bachelor who hasn't had luck in love. Thinking he has finally met the woman of his dreams, he leads her to believe he is wealthy and agrees to a wedding far beyond his means. Desperate for funds, he turns to his friends, who are weary of his fanciful schemes. Zhao's best friend (Xuejian Li) hatches the idea to raise the money by refurbishing an abandoned bus they will rent out by the hour - the Happy Times Hotel - to young couples starved for privacy. Read More Read Less
      Happy Times

      What to Know

      Critics Consensus

      One of Zhang's smaller films, Happy Times is nevertheless moving and bittersweet.

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      Audience Reviews

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      Audience Member Muy linda historia, simple y divertida. Super recomendada Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Audience Member I always like to say something positive to begin a review but with this film, I find it very difficult to find some redeeming qualities. The idea has potential but the movie never gains momentum in any meaningful direction. A man desperate to marry makes up all kinds of lies to attract a woman and instead gets left to care for her blind stepdaughter. A friendship develops between the step daughter and the man meanwhile the lies to attract the step Mom continues to grow. As we all know, lying isn't the best policy and the story follows the main characters demise. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 01/26/23 Full Review Audience Member It is funny enough to ridiculous a thing called love. No matter how hard you try, you'll end up screwing up everything. This old man tries harder than anyone could ever imagine to have something precious in his last age, something he should have tired of for a long time: he tries to be married, in a way he could stage the future. What's he get? Nothing but trouble. He has to keep his head up or he'll lose his long-time-coming lover. He doesn't understand what mutual love is except the sacrifice part. But on the other side, his effort has become a pursuit of hope for another person. Wu Ying, in her own state, can't help but accept that she troubles her step-mother. She hopes to find her father and cure her blindness, but along the way, she learns about being with a true family, Manager Zhao and his friends. She was hopeless and nearly suicidal, but then she gained a new light. The film isn't about comedy at all, but somehow, it isn't about tragedy, too. It is warm enough to let us laugh and calm enough to get us touched. The performance is quite convincing, but the script is not intriguing. Overall, the neo realist film is a fine work, but not Yimou's best. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/20/23 Full Review Audience Member Happy Times has some of the funniest bits I've seen in a long time. It's also one of the most poignant films I've seen in a while, but maybe I'm easily moved from laughter to tears. For most of the film, I was on a happy and heartfelt ride with a cast of mostly sympathetic characters charmingly dealing with their dilemma. But then, when I was completely involved with the characters and their mutual predicament, and expecting an ending in accord with the comedic tone of the film, Happy Times wasn't funny anymore. In fact, I was surprised to see the credits roll immediately after tragedy struck. Here's a film that needs an alternate ending in the bonus material. Or better yet, just don't watch the last scene and make something up yourself. Trust me, you'll feel better. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/10/23 Full Review Audience Member simple yet hilariously moving plot set in rural modern China Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review Audience Member nice one .. Dong was chosen among 40,000 girls who applied on the internet for the role of a blind girl she's really good at acting.. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/13/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Critics Reviews

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      Empire Magazine Rated: 3/5 Jun 1, 2003 Full Review Marrit Ingman Austin Chronicle Rated: 2.5/5 Mar 10, 2003 Full Review Susan Stark Detroit News A provocative, touching, surprising and obliquely illuminating piece. Rated: 3/4 Oct 11, 2002 Full Review David Walsh World Socialist Web Site Happy Times has attractive qualities. As always, Zhang has presided over a carefully and beautifully crafted production. Pictorial clarity and accuracy are his watchwords. Feb 16, 2021 Full Review Christopher Null Filmcritic.com Rated: 3.5/5 Mar 9, 2004 Full Review Marcy Dermansky About.com Jie Dong, who makes her film debut as the blind and unwanted Little Wu, is thin, tough and heartbreakingly lovely. Rated: 2.5/5 Oct 24, 2003 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Zhao (Benshan Zhao) is a poor, aging bachelor who hasn't had luck in love. Thinking he has finally met the woman of his dreams, he leads her to believe he is wealthy and agrees to a wedding far beyond his means. Desperate for funds, he turns to his friends, who are weary of his fanciful schemes. Zhao's best friend (Xuejian Li) hatches the idea to raise the money by refurbishing an abandoned bus they will rent out by the hour - the Happy Times Hotel - to young couples starved for privacy.
      Director
      Yimou Zhang
      Executive Producer
      Edward R. Pressman, Terrence Malick
      Screenwriter
      Yan Mo
      Distributor
      Sony Pictures Classics
      Production Co
      Guangxi Film Studios
      Rating
      PG (Language|Thematic Elements)
      Genre
      Comedy
      Original Language
      Chinese
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Jul 26, 2002, Wide
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      $239.1K
      Sound Mix
      Dolby Stereo, Dolby Digital, Dolby A, Surround, Dolby SR
      Aspect Ratio
      Flat (1.85:1)