The Road Home
The story of the enchanting courtship at the center of The Road Home unfolds largely through stolen glances and fleeting encounters. Though the film's beautiful star, Zhang Ziyi (Michelle Yeoh's formidable teenage nemesis from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), is the one stealing most of those glances, director Zhang Yimou ensures that the striking actress is more object than subject as he indulges in endless shots of her frolicking amid bright, sweeping landscapes. Luckily for the director, her beguiling visage is just about enough to keep his middling love story afloat. Narrated in flashback by the lovers' son, Yusheng (Sun Honglei), the film begins with him making his way back to the chilly, desolate mountainside town he grew up in. Beckoned home upon the death of his father, Yusheng's mother (Zhao Yeulin) requests that her husband, a schoolteacher who died in a nearby town, be carried back to their village on foot. The ancient, nearly obsolete tradition is intended to ensure that the deceased never forget their way home. Yusheng goes on to narrate the tale of his parents' meeting (with Zhang Ziyi playing Yusheng's young mother-to-be). Simplistic almost to a fault, Road is an undeniably beautiful film which, if nothing else, stands as a monument to its idolized starlet.