Don’t Go Breaking My Heart Review.
Synopsis. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart is a 2011 Hong Kong movie about a woman torn between two men, one an exciting playboy CEO and the other a quiet architect. Who will she choose?
More Detail. Zixin (Gao Yuan Yuan) is still reeling from her breakout with her boyfriend. Seeing Zixin distraught Shen Ran (Louis Koo) wants to help her. Instead Fang (Daniel Wu) helps her through the bad moment. Both men are drawn to her and begin to woo her. The timing does not work for either man initially.
After a 3 year time jump, Shen Ran returns as the CEO of the company Zixin works for. Remembering his playboy ways, Zixin refuses to have anything to do with him. Shen Ran cleverly draws Zixin to him by having her shop for cars, apartment, and furniture with him. Little does she know she is selecting a lifestyle he wants to give her. Their first big date was particularly interesting when locked out of her apartment he climbs (yes, he climbs) up the side of the apartment building and lets himself into her open bathroom window. When he opens the door he has a series of lovely declarations that melt her heart.
When Fang returns, Zixin has had enough with another round of Shen Ran’s playboy ways. Shen Ran declares “There are only two kinds of men in this world. Those that cheat and those that want to.” Zixin retorts “I want the third kind of man!” On the outs with Shen Ran, Zixin is ready to consider another man. Fang is the third kind of man; sweet, kind and everything that Shen Ran is not. However, Shen Ran has her heart.
Both men openly vy for her heart. Distraught Zixin does not know who to choose. Fang offers her a respite and whisks her away to see a building being constructed with her shadow from their initial meeting as the inspiration. As they wait for the sunrise on top of the unfinished building. Zixin falls asleep on Fang’s shoulder. Fang relishes the closeness but does not push her. Zixin awakes and realizes she is more like Shen Ran than she cares to admit because she is drawn to two very different men.
Upset she heads for his mother’s house to think and consider what to do next. Fang patiently waits and Shen Ran anxiously waits for Zixin to resurface.
When Zixin takes stock of both men she realizes that Fang may be the best man for her.
Shen Ran makes a final marriage proposal with flair. Fang also makes a lovely marriage proposal. Which man will Zixin commit to?
What I liked about Don’t Go Breaking My Heart:
* Cheng Zixin, the female lead, was played by Gao Yuan Yuan. What an interesting role. She was drawn equally to both men for different reasons and it was a hard choice to make. Gao Yuanyuan injected Zixin with a spirit, resilience and understanding for herself and the two men she loved. She did not demand perfection from herself or them. This realistic view only made her choice harder.
* Shen Ran, one of the male leads, was played by Louis Koo. He was compelling even with his playboy ways. Good looking and charismatic, Shen Ran truly loved Zixin but being faithful, that was more than he could manage. It was clever way he wooed her after the 3 year time jump. As she selected the car, the apartment, and furniture it drew her close to him. Unbeknownst to her she was picking all the items that would become hers. Charming how he wooed her in the initial phase of the movie with the sticky note pictures as they gazed at each other from different office building windows. Even his marriage proposal at the end had wonderful flare.
* Fang, one of the male leads, was played by Daniel Wu. In the beginning of the movie Daniel Wu sported long hair, a look that worked for him. After the 3 year time jump, he seemed more ordinary with the short hair. Initially he is down on his luck and a helps Zixin through a difficult period. His influence offers her a fresh start and perspective. Unfortunately Zixin’s updated look attracts Shen Ran and Fang is forgotten. After the 3 year time jump and he returns on the scene it is ironic that he takes over the office Shen Ran had 3 years prior and begin to woo Zixin in a similar manner. Fang is innately kind and considerate of her needs, a mix that drew Zixin to him, creating a dilemma for her.
* This love triangle was had twists and turns. The four writers, Wai Ka Fai, Yau Nai Hoi, Ray Chan Wai Ban, and Au Man Kit, crafted an intriguing love triangle. I did not know what would happen next and who she would choose. Both men were viable, both men were compelling, and both men were imperfect. This was NOT a warm and fuzzy romantic triangle. It had a grittier edge that hooked me. The man not chosen acknowledged and accepted the choice Zixin made. That was classy and spoke highly of his regard for her.
What I did not like about Don’t Go Breaking My Heart:
* Not every secondary character was interesting. This is a quibble as the story was the love triangle, all other characters were superfluous.
* I completely enjoyed this film. The cinematography was interesting and the direction was strong. The directors’ vision, Johnnie To and Ka Fai Wai, of the film unfolded in a way that worked for me. If you want a sunshine and roses romance, this is not the film for you. With love stories, you either click with the characters and are drawn in or you merely observe without caring. I was intrigued by these characters. Because of the grittier edge to the characters this romance was more interesting, layered and nuanced. Romance is subjective. I enjoyed this one.