Chinese director Zhang Yimou keeps it simple but effective in this low budget, lyrical love story, which is near pastoral in its simplicity, yet still moving and perfect in its form.
The tale is set within a mountainous village, to which a city dwelling son returns due to the death of his father. Whilst attempting to negotiate his mother's increasingly logistically difficult requests for the funeral ceremony, he reminisces upon the story of his parents' courtship.
In moving the story this way, Zhang shifts his focus from the bleak midwinter village to a richly colour-filled springtime setting as the love story is gradually revealed in a tender, extended flashback. Through the delicate development of young love, Zhang weaves his themes, namely of community and craft in decline, and associates the two closely with their inevitable culmination. The film's greatest strength though, is arguably the thoroughly haunting soundtrack, which curiously pitches itself as a kind of Asian reworking of James Horner's Titanic.
The Road Home is the kind of cinema that too often is forgotten or overlooked within more grandiose Hollywood straight stories of boy gets girl. Both fantastical and yet beautifully real, this is a treat that easily surpasses any other love story you'll witness this year.
Rotten Tomatoes Score:
Ziyi Zhang, Honglei Sun, Hao Zheng, Yuelin Zhao, Bin Li, Guifa Chang
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