[FILM] American Dreams in China 中国合伙人

我们要改变自己,改变别人,从而改变世界, 唯一不能改变的是勇气!- 孟晓骏 《中国合伙人》

We have to change ourselves, change others, impact others, but not our courage!

Meng Xiaojun (American Dreams in China)

American Dreams in China《中国合伙人》 is a film about three ambitious friends who founded a Chinese educational preparatory school then later company which specialises in equipping Chinese students with the English language proficiency to work in America.

Albeit similar to The Social Network, this 2013 Chinese film stars accomplished actors Huang Xiaoming 黄晓明, Deng Chao 邓超, and Tong Dawei 佟大卫 and it won the Best Picture for the 29th Golden Rooster Awards. The title doesn’t attempt to hide what the show is about; it is exactly about the 1980s China where students were hooked to the idea of studying overseas in pursuit of a better future.

Previously as undergraduates themselves, the main characters Cheng Dongqing (played by Huang Xiaoming) a hardworking village-raised student who grew up to be an excellent English teacher, Wang Yang (played by Tong Dawei) an unconcerned and love-struck fella who stayed back in China for his Western girlfriend, and Meng Xiaojun (played by Deng Chao) who was able to continue his family legacy and chase his American dreams effortlessly. A rag-to-rich story, the best friends tapped into their unorthodox teaching skills and Meng’s successful case story to help their aspiring juniors reach their dreams. And like any film, Peter Chan (director of He’s a Woman, She’s a Man; The Warlords) has spiced up the movie by adding a little drama between the friends and funnily enough, their conflict was resolved when an American company filed a civil lawsuit against the three friends.

I enjoyed watching the film partially because of the cast. Seeing Deng Chao taking on the role of a Meng Xiaojun, the only one among the trio who successfully went to America, was an odd feeling especially after watching Deng Chao goofing and laughing about for six years in the outdoor variety show Running Man China. I mean look at these:

I guess you can play any role if you are a good actor. But anyways, other than the casting I was really awe-struck by the costumes (and hairdo). We don’t need no calendar nor time stamps and not even a Citizen Kane-style dissolve to show the passing of time. Costumes (and hairdo) changed subtlety to reflect the fashion trends of that year and very soon, this trio are dressed handsomely in suit and tie in an American boardroom. And yes, I almost forgot the change in Wang Yang’s hairstyle.

And of course, the soundtrack. With music hailing from Cantopop legends Beyond and acclaimed Lo Tayu, this show only gets better. I recommend anyone who likes films like The Social Network to watch this. The plot is average but the conflict was rather unpredictable. I would say the acting of the cast was one of the highlights of this movie; I really could feel the tension between characters. Definitely worth a re-watch on those days where you feel low.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Main theme for the film

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