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Happy Times (2000)

Lifan Dong , Benshan Zhao , Yimou Zhang  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

List Price: $29.95
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Product Details

  • Actors: Lifan Dong, Benshan Zhao, Jie Dong, Biao Fu, Xuejian Li
  • Directors: Yimou Zhang
  • Writers: Gai Zi, Yan Mo
  • Producers: Edward R. Pressman, Erin O'Rourke, Lizhong Qiao, Ping Zhou, Qinglong Yang
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Chinese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: December 3, 2002
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006RCL3
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,205 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Happy Times" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Great DVD

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bitter-sweet story December 18, 2002
There was a time when I longed to see another Zhang Yimou film. His greatest films, "Raise the Red Lantern," "Shanghai Triad," "Ju-dou," and "Red Sorghum" are--without a doubt--some of the richest cinematic experiences--and I'll stress the word "experiences" that I've EVER had.

But something happened to Zhang Yimou, and his artistry--as perhaps one of the greatest directors of all time--waned. Was it perhaps because he lost his muse, Gong Li, star of "Shanghai Triad" and "Raise the Red Lantern"? Many professional reviewers speculate that Gong Li's departure is the cause for Yimou's artistic slump, but regardless of the cause, Yimou seems to be on the rise again with this film "Happy Times."

Zhao (Bensahn Zhao), an unemployed, middle-aged lonely factory worker longs for a wife. After being jilted 18 times, he decides to marry an unpleasant, domineering divorcee. While friends scoff at photographs of Zhao's large new fiancee, Zhao defends her rubenesque proportions by stating that the other 18 women left him because they were skinny, and as this fiancee is far from skinny, Zhao believes she will stay put and marry him.

Zhao, in order to impress the divorcee, brags that as the manager of the "Happy Times" hotel, he is fairly well-to-do. Problems develop when the divorcee contends that they need 50,000 yen in order to get married in style, and this is when Zhao starts to involve his friends in his relationship. Acting on the advice of his best friend (who also has no money), Zhao refurbishes an abandoned bus as a romantic retreat for lovers with the idea that the lovers will pay for their privacy.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be fooled by the cover May 9, 2005
I almost didn't rent this movie-because--quite simply--I thought the cover picture held promises of a silly little movie--good for maybe a few "chunky mama" jokes--boy was I wrong--this is one of the better movies I've seen recently. The movie does begin along the lines of what I expected-as Zhao creates his "Happy Times Hotel"-and there is a bit of humor--but once he begins his relationship with Ying--the story progresses into a dramatic touching relationship between the two outcasts--young blind Ying and middle aged, never married Zhao. Their relationship is not a romantic one--but a paternal one-with Zhao writing a fake letter to Ying from her father who abandoned her--among other things.

The ending is not the happy, feel good ending typical of American movies--which is probably one of the things that makes it stand out.

The movie is subtitled-which I have no problem with--but my wife doesn't normally like subtitled movies--but she loved this one. If you don't care for subtitles--give this one a try anyway--it's worth the little extra effort!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect July 16, 2004
By Howie
I've long been a film buff - my favorite films tend to be artsy and rather pedantic. Because of this, my family generally doesn't like to sit with me and watch movies.
So, when I started "Happy Times" last night, I thought they'd gradually wander off and find something else to do.
But, they were enthralled! This movie is the perfect balancing act between comedy, drama, and the enduring love we feel for those who have touched us in a special way.
This is a great, great movie.
Too many Americans shun foreign films. This is one they shouldn't miss. When the movie ended, my oldest son turned to me and said, "Wow. I think Hollywood has forgotten how to make movies like this!"
American filmmakers seem to think they have to descend to the baser instincts in order to make "adult" movies.
Yet, "Happy Times" - and countless other foreign films - never seem to sink to this level. These films are always excellent.
I think the issue is that Hollywood has forgotten how to write a good story; they've forgotten that basic human values can be enduring, can be entertaining, if only they would jettison their cynical baggage.
"Happy Times" will make you laugh and cry, smile and reflect with pride on the better angels of our nature.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Chinese Hepburn? August 2, 2002
Audrey Hepburn has always been one of my heart throbs. Last year, the French actress Audrey Tatou, whom many compared to the winsom Hepburn, burst onto the American screens in the hit AMELIE. Now, in HAPPY TIMES, perhaps the same can be said about Dong Jie.
In this English subtitled film that takes place in an unidentified Chinese mainland city, an impoverished fifty-something Lothario named Zhao (Zhao Benshan) claims to have found true love with a divorcée (Dong Lihua), and proposes marriage. Zhao's new fiancée is delighted, but says the ceremony will cost him a lot of money. Not admitting his penury, Zhao and his best friend Li (Li Xuejian) refurbish an old, abandoned bus out in the woods into the Happy Times Hut, a cozy retreat complete with bed and covered windows where young couples can "relax" - for a modest fee paid to our two heroes. Thus, Zhao can brag to his fiancée that he's a "hotel" manager, and business is booming.
Enter Dong Jie as Wu Ying, the teenage stepdaughter of Zhao's bride-to-be, abandoned into the latter's care by her former husband, Wu's father. Wu is totally blind, and is treated with petty cruelty by her stepmother and stepbrother. For example, the former forbids Wu to eat the treats (Hĺagen-Dazs ice cream) she brings into the house for her grossly overweight porker of a son (Ling Qibin), who, in turn, steals food from the sightless girl's bowl. Wu is affection starved, and dreams only of being reunited one day with her father, who will by then have earned enough money to have her sight restored. In the meantime, the stepmother nags Zhao into giving Wu a job at his "hotel". Zhao is understandably reluctant, but finally agrees.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Yimou Zhang excels again!
From internationally celebrated director Zhang Yimou ( Ju Dou, Raise The Red Lantern, Hero, House Of Flying Daggers ) comes a story about trying to find love and meaning in human... Read more
Published 3 months ago by naeler
5.0 out of 5 stars Prompt service!
Haven't seen it yet but i know it has great reviews. xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxx xxxxxx xxxx xx xxx x x xxx To make the # of words mandatory when reviewing is... Read more
Published 11 months ago by E. J. Jove
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative, Moving, Inspirational!
A simple story of a man's kind attempts to bring a glimmer of hope, friendship and happiness to an orphaned blind girl. Loved it!
Published 16 months ago by M. Baer
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible Subtitles
I don't know if I'd like this film or not, since the subtitles were so infrequent and confusing that I had only a vague idea of what was going on. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jerry
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, but bittersweet
This was enjoyable movie, but don't see why it gets such high ratings in the IMDB.
I prefer movies that are more philosophical, if they are going to be didactic. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Markus Eng
5.0 out of 5 stars Great video!
This is an excellent movie and it deals with a China that is rarely seen in the movies.
I highly recommend this film.
Published on December 6, 2011 by David Applebaum
5.0 out of 5 stars A Humane Film
This is a wonderful film about an old man who tries to do what he can to help a young blind girl. He's a born liar and his lies are integral to his approach to the girl. Read more
Published on June 12, 2011 by M. Ash
5.0 out of 5 stars The effects of deception
Zhang Yimou is known for creating and directing what is dubbed, the greatest show on earth, the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Read more
Published on July 29, 2010 by Rizzo {。^◕◕^。}
5.0 out of 5 stars funny, sad, poignant
This moving and funny flick is one of those hidden treasures you want to share with all your friends.
Published on February 11, 2009 by C. Olsen
3.0 out of 5 stars A little slow-moving, but many wonderful moments!!
I actually liked this movie a lot overall, but other people that were watching it with me felt that it was very slow-moving. Read more
Published on May 27, 2008 by cathal
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