How many coincidences can you accept in a story? If coincidences ARE the story, is there a limit to how many you can stomach? If the answer is yes, this movie is not for you. If you can accept the implausible though, 向左走向右走 has quite a bit to offer. The music, the poetry and the scenery are beautiful. Half-Japanese heart-throb Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武) and Hong Kong star Gigi Leung (梁詠琪), who starred together in the hit romantic film Tempting Heart (1999), are reunited for another love story. Much of the movie was carried on the strength of these two, who are able to make even the most improbable of plots beleivable. The supporting cast also did a great job adding comic relief to what would otherwise be a serious movie.

The story of this movie revolves around a musician (Takeshi), and a translator (Leung). When they meet, sparks fly, but it seems that they are fated to always be just out of each other’s reach. They are neighbors but don’t realize it. They unknowingly order food from the same restaurant, stay at the same hospital, ride the same subway trains, and even dial the same numbers, all while desperately searching for each other. Unfortunately, whatever they do, they are always just out of contact with each other. When one turns left, the other turns right.

向左走向右走 is surprisingly touching. I found myself really caring about what happened to these two characters, despite the obvious nature and down-right corniness of the plot. That said, there is a certain beauty to how much symmetry is in the story. Not only are the two main characters moving as if reflections (or in their words, “shadows”) of each other, but there is a similar kind of symmetry between the supporting characters who interact with them. The film is also worth quite a few more laughs than I expected. In terms of difficulty for a Chinese student, I think this is one of the easier films out there. I would guess that a typical student who has completed level 4 at Shida (師大), or three years Chinese in college would understand most of the movie. Even if you don’t want English subtitles for most of the movie, I still recommend getting the DVD, though. There’s a Polish poem in the movie, and you’ll want English subtitles for that. I say, if you’re studying Chinese, rent it. If not, rent it anyway.

Rating: 4.5/5