Movie Details

Don't Go Breaking My Heart

Yen is a single girl working in an IT company in Hong Kong. One day, she notices a handsome hunk in the office building across the street trying to catch her attention with paper signs. A quirky romance ensues as she starts communicating with the stranger through paper signs every day. On the day when she finally has the chance to meet him in person, she discovers that the so-called romance is only an embarrassing mix-up on her part. Her fate changes when she is approached by a beggar named Kevin in the park. They start talking and soon become best friends. She learns of his origins and starts helping him rebuild his confidence and get back on tracks. However, when the previous stranger tries to win her heart back, Yin is caught in an unwanted love triangle.

Language: Mandarin
Subtitle: NA
Classification: PG
Release Date: 7 Apr 2011
Genre: Drama / Romance
Running Time: 1 Hour 57 Minutes
Distributor: CATHAY-KERIS FILMS, CLOVER FILMS
Cast: Daniel Wu, Louis Koo, Lam Suet, Yuanyuan Gao
Director: Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Ezli Eahsan

Writer Ratings:
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Watch this if you liked: “Needing You... ”, “Turn Left Turn Right”

"Don't Go Breaking My Heart" is not a typical modern Chinese love story because the movie poster might give the potential audience the wrong impression. The film starts with a financial analyst named Cheng Zixin (Gao Yuan Yuan) who accidentally meets her ex-boyfriend and his pregnant wife on a bus. The trio's argument is witnessed by Cheung Shen-ran (Louis Koo) from his car and he tries to chase Cheng but only to be beaten on the spot by a drunken man who saves Cheng from being run over in the heavy traffic. Cheng discovers that the drunken Fang Qihong (Daniel Wu) is actually a former architect whose career disillusionment sank the award winning designer into drinking problems. Fang proposed a date with Cheng a week after but her heart is quickly stolen by Cheung's courting antics from an opposite skyscraper. A quirky romance ensues as they start communicating with paper signs. Cheung however stood Cheng up on their first date because he had a one night stand with a sexy vixen working at the company below Cheng's office. Three years later, Cheng, Chang and Fang meet again in the most weird and awkward situation. Both men try to win Cheng's heart but can she accept love after being cheated twice? That is the question the movie poses.

After taking a break from directing for two years, Johnnie To is clearly effected by Wai Ka-Fai's style of storytelling. It can be seen in many cute objects that support the love story: from a frog to the stick-on notepad that are repeatedly used until one wonders how many trees got chopped off to make a certain scene. Thankfully they did not include any nonsense comedy or long lovey-dovey moments that will make the audience's eyes rolled in annoyance or dreadfully wait for a change of scene. The movie is slightly lengthy but the audience will tend to overlook that dragging factor since everything is done perfectly short and sweet.

Another element that supports the strength of the story is, it is set around the Asian financial tsunami and its aftermath, so audience can relate to each character and their surroundings. From an office cubicle facing a window, slowly it develops into a complicated romance but after the 'Three Years Later' text appears on the screen, the story takes a predictable turn into a love triangle and concentrate on who will Cheng choose. The two directors did a smooth transition on the romantic declarations by the two male protagonists, nothing absurd like a whole office staff sing and dance but in a very subtle yet touching moments.

As for acting, after her more serious role in "Shanghai Dreams" that scores her the Prix de Jury prize in Cannes, Gao Yuan Yuan gives a fresh breath with her Mainland acting as she handle the emotional moments well in a very limited moment. However, at certain time it feels as if she deserves more screen time to explore the depths of her character. Nothing special on Louis Koo and Daniel Wu since the audience can see the same charming characterization from their pass performance but supporting actor Lam Suet is a scene stealer in a few memorable comical scenes.

Final verdict, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" is a good rom-com because of it's simplicity and keeping everything down to earth by not overdoing it like most Hong Kong love stories. Somehow it takes the term "workplace relationship" to a new level.

Cinema Online, 30 March 2011
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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