Romance, fairy tale, sci fi, drama, comedy, time travel are terms that very rarely come together to describe a single movie, but Su Lun had managed to do just that, in a rather unusual films that manages to combine all the aforementioned with some splashes of nonsensicality that result in a rather entertaining flick, at least for the most part. Let us take things from the beginning though.

“How Long Will I Love U?” is screening at San Diego Asian Film Festival (SDAFF)

Gu Xiaojiao is a young woman as superficial and calculating as possible. She is in search of a husband, whose main trait, though, has to be money, and particularly enough to buy her a mansion she wants. Lu Ming is a hard-working architect, who sees his blueprints and overall plans being rejected repeatedly. These very different people, who happen to leave in 2018 and 1999 respectively, find themselves living in a merger of their two houses, to the point that they wake up in the same (half part of each apartment) bed. After recovering from the initial shock, they discover that each part of the merged doors of the two apartments leads to different timelines. Despite the impossible of the situation, the two manage to get along, alternating in timelines, and a subtle romance starts to blossom. As soon as Lu Ming’s actual future is revealed, however, both protagonists find themselves in front of quite harsh dilemmas.

Su Lun directs a film that starts as a delightful romantic comedy between two completely different people, with the difference in the timeline adding much comedy to the romance, along with a sense of a fairy tale that soon becomes a sci-fi one. Two people from different timelines coming together is a theme much visited in world cinema, but the element of the actual merger of the two houses makes this case quite unique. The concept, and the continuous repercussions reality suffers each time the two try to change their future provide the most impressive visual aspect of the film, with the special effects of having two different settings “swallowing” one another being exquisite.

These aspects form the first part of the movie, with the comedy giving its place to drama in the second, as the time continuum gets even more complex, and the reality of an unlikely event comes crushing on both protagonists. This drama, however, is presented in mellow fashion, without any significant impact but also without lingering towards the melodrama, as is usual the case in similar Korean films, while at least a measure of comedy also remains in this part.

The biggest issue of the film lies with this part, which is quite far-fetched (and I am not referring to the time line difference) but also does not manage to carry the delightfulness of the first one, being somewhat tedious, to a portion at least, since the finale definitely compensates to a large degree.

The acting carries the film quite far, with Tong Liya as the beautiful, feisty, calculating, but also sensitive Xiaojiao and Lei Jiayin as the timid, honest and hard-working Lu Ming presenting a very entertaining antithesis, all the while highlighting their great chemistry.

Wang Junming’s cinematography is great in its presentation of the two different eras and through a number of colorful (both literally and metaphorically) scenes. Chen Zhongming editing gives the film a rather fast pace, particularly in the first part, which, with the combination of Peng Fei and Zhao Zhao’s music frequently functions as a delightful music video. All of these aspects, however, are quite different in the second part, with the colors becoming darker, the pace slower, and the music more dramatic.

“How Long Will I Love U?” is a very entertaining film to watch, although it could have been a lot better, if the romantic comedy aspect carried on in the second part. Fans of romantic flicks, however, will definitely enjoy this one.

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