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Beautiful Life [DVD] [2011] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful love story 29 Jan 2012
By NickJ - Published on
Format: DVD
I completely disagree with the review below expressing disappointment with this film. I loved it. The female lead undergoes a complete transformation from a shallow, money-hungry manipulator to a loving and caring person. She starts out being uninterested in the advances of the male lead, but after realizing her life is empty, she seeks him out. Meanwhile, he has been badly injured and forced to retire to a life of dependency. She goes to extraordinary lengths to find him, and proves her love by caring for him in his time of need. Qi Shu probably does the best cinematic portrayal of a woman who is absolutely in love that I have ever seen.

Like most Chinese films, this one has a few corny moments, but I liked the film so much that I've watched it several times, which I rarely do. Qi Shu really gives a tremendous performance, and he's very good as well. If you want to watch a heart-warming love story and are willing to let the plot evolve, you shouldn't be disappointed. Hint: If you don't like her character at first, persevere - her transformation is well worth the wait.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Good Movie 18 Jan 2013
By Deanna - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a good movie. The actors do a great job. The woman, Peiru, is a successful real estate agent in Beijing, who has personal issues, and so drinks too much. Fang is a quiet, hardworking, honest police officer. They meet by chance. They meet by chance a couple of times. She asks for his number. Although it is never stated, it seems as though she recognized how solid and stable he was and was drawn to him, especially since she's all over the place in her personal life. There was never any romantic pursuit from him. I think he thought she was out of his league. She kept calling him to get her out of messes or to help her out. He always did even though he began to see that she was an emotional mess. I really liked Fang. The actress playing Peiru is really beautiful and she's a good actress. When the twist in the story comes, we see how they weather the storm. It is a very Chinese story of endurance of hardship. Those who are used to the high action movies of the West might think this movie slow moving. I think the writer and director did a great job at taking their time with character development. This was well worth watching.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Definition of Beauty Within, Plus 6 Mar 2014
By Gene Cisco - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What a surprising discovery after 40+ Hong Kong so-so films, to find the radiant Shu Qi (Li Peiru) in her role of a lifetime, opposite the solid Liu Ye (Fang Zhendong) playing opposites who literally fall together, Shu Qi the materialistic striver; and Liu Ye, a lowly Hong Kong street cop. This script allows each to grow into their need for each other over time, through many personal challenges, financial hardships and family expectations to work through their differences. Fang already has an obligation to care for his autistic brother when they first meet. The masterful direction (Andrew Lau) makes things evolve with such a phenomenal subtlety that you are feeling their longing naturally in this very contemporary script of a modern changing world ( Tang Kit Ming), drawn to such clarity by the photographers (Lau/Lai Yui Fai) that the pair becomes the envy of the hardest heart. This is the film that depicts the new cinema capital. Shu Qi transforms herself into a major actress here in a movie you will see over and over allowing for enough hankies. Beauty within and without defined.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Chinese Melodrama That Left Me Emotionally Unconnected To The Central Relationship 13 Dec 2011
By K. Harris - Published on
Format: DVD
Chinese Director Andrew Lau, perhaps best known for the thrilling "Infernal Affairs" saga, tries his hand at something a bit softer with the romantic melodrama "A Beautiful Life." As the first scenes of "A Beautiful Life" unfolded, I truly believed that I was going to love this movie. It is certainly well made and its stars, Shu Qi and Liu Ye, are inherently appealing. They have a terrific chemistry and play off each other exceedingly well. And yet, as the film progressed, I realized that I didn't really care about either protagonist and certainly not their journey together. Qi is painted as a selfish manipulator (with zero redeeming value) and Ye ends up being a doormat for her every whim. Look, I'm not saying that people don't form unhealthy relationships like this in real life, but Lau genuinely wants us to care about this train wreck of a pairing. And I didn't. I tried, but I couldn't. You know that the film wants you to believe in the inevitability of true love conquering all, but I just wanted Ye to run for the hills at every opportunity. The man plays a veritable saint, and I suppose he wants to rescue the destructive maiden, but she all but ruins his life.

Ye plays a good natured police officer in Beijing. Having been hurt deeply with a prior relationship, Ye dedicates his life to work and caring for his disabled brother. Qi is a successful real estate businesswoman, recently transplanted from Hong Kong to move her career forward. The two meet cute at a karaoke bar where she is falling-down drunk and he rescues her (the first of many times). Improbably, they meet once again a little while later (she selfishly and unapologetically parks her car on a one lane thoroughfare backing up traffic--but she doesn't care) where she puts her flirt on and Ye must be attracted to her free spirit. She calls him numerous times to use and exploit his affection for her, and I found it all rather distasteful and not the least bit charming. Before this romance even takes off, she will ask him to compromise his professional ethics and endanger his very livelihood. What ends up happening is unforgivable, horrendous, and absolutely unpleasant. And yet, the film's romanticism still insists for something that the screenplay and characterizations don't support.

If, after this description, you think that Qi will learn her lesson and true love will win out (and really, who wouldn't think that?)--the movie doesn't really even give you that satisfaction. The final act of the movie turns into a weepy melodrama, which is fine, but the film never earned my emotional involvement. If you give me both romance and tragedy, but I never believe in the central relationship--there is bound to be something lacking in the emotional payoff. Despite good performances, I was apathetic in even the most heartrending moments. It was very disappointing. The film even comes to a conclusion completely open-ended. Liu Ye has an understated charm that I found almost irresistible. Shu Qi can light up the screen. But "A Beautiful Life" never made me care and I REALLY REALLY wanted to. Not a bad film, per se, it is just something that never connected with me. KGHarris, 12/11.
One Must Prevail Not Merely Endure 1 July 2014
By Martin Asiner - Published on
Format: DVD
A BEAUTIFUL LIFE exhibits the timeless Chinese trait that misfortune is an inevitable function of life which can be overcome through dint of hard work. This film is a near Chinese version of any Thomas Hardy novel in which all concerned suffer tragedy after tragedy without the leavening of hope. Shu Qi plays Taiwanese real estate agent Li Peiru whose life is an unending mess of bad choices. She is having an affair with her married boss who has scammed her out of her life savings. She drowns her sorrows in booze even as she dreams of opening her own real estate office but without money this is no more than an idle fantasy. Enter honest cop Fang Zhen Dong who meets her as she staggers drunk into a karaoke men's room where she promptly barfs all over him. The first half of the film centers on the various issues Li Peiru has as she tries to put her life in order with help from Fang Zhen Dong. He is there for her every time she needs help. She throws herself shamelessly at him practically ripping his clothes off in the process as he modestly rebuffs her advances. He even lends her his life savings so she can open her office. The second half is a complete reversal of the first. Fang Zhen Dong is now the one who needs her help as he suffers from cerebro-vascular dementia, eventually losing his job as a cop. Li Peiru must now look for him as she recognizes that true love consists of helping the one whom you love. A BEAUTIFUL LIFE is an updated tale of Chinese folklore that suggests that the Road to Happiness is replete with traps that can ensnare anyone who forgets that this life can be beautiful only if the traveler admits that enduring hardship is insufficient to complete the journey. One must prevail at the end. Unlike Thomas Hardy who could never admit this possibility, the finale of A BEAUTIFUL LIFE hints that even for sufferers like Li Peiru and Fang Zhen Dong such a limited happy ending is at least possible. Recommended.
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