Clocking in at over three hours and spanning four decades, this intimate epic depicts the largely devastating effects of China’s one-child policy on two families. It hinges around powerhouse performances from Wang Jingchun and Yong Mei, who play a married couple that adopts a son after their biological child drowns. So Long, My Son is as formally daring as it is thematically potent, with a nonlinear narrative that’s likely to keep you on your toes for the first hour or so, before the puzzle pieces begin to slot into place. The story sometimes veers into melodramatic territory, but the delivery is decidedly understated – perhaps the most gut-wrenching moment is a level-headed exchange of amicable words between estranged friends. And while it might sound like a bit of a slog on paper, it’s a film brimming with compassion, insight and, ultimately, optimism.
So Long, My Son | Directed by Wang Xiaoshuai (China 2019) with Wang Jingchun, Yong Mei. Starts Nov 14.
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