TOGETHER

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Quality
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Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: August 24, 2001

Starring: Tang Yun, Liu Peiqi, Chen Hong, Wang Zhiwen, and Chen Kaige

Genre: Drama

Audience: All ages REVIEWER: Joseph L.
Kalcso Guaranteed at the very
least to put a lump in your
throat, TOGETHER is a very
tender, sentimental movie
about the conflict which
arises when a child
approaching pubescence is
suddenly faced with making
tough choices between the tug
of his immature heart, and the
alluring promises of great
fame and fortune. On another
level, it can also be
interpreted as either a
political statement condemning
the corrupt values of the
Western World which elevates
crass materialism over purity
and love, or the results of
leaving common sense behind
and following the dictates of
an immature, unbridled
heart. Young Xiaochun (Tang
Yun) is a child prodigy. His
fingers glide smoothly over
the violin his mother left him
before she died, and the music
emanating from it is nothing
short of glorious. His father
Liu Cheng (Liu Peiqi) is
steadfastly attempting to
develop his son's career, and
the break he had been hoping
for has just arrived in the
form of an invitation to
compete at a prestigious
Beijing conservatory. Father
and son pack all their
belongings and are soon on
their way to the big city.
Xiaochun does well in the
competition, but, to their
chagrin, they soon find out
that it takes more than talent
to break onto the world stage,
it also takes bribes and
connections, and even an
official permit to just live
in Beijing. The road to
success is going to take
longer than they had hoped,
but Cheng is not discouraged.
He retains the services of
Professor Jiang (Wang Zhwen),
an eccentric, grubby music
teacher who has also noticed
Xiaochun's talents. Father and
son find a very modest place
to live, and things begin to
look up. Eventually, Cheng's
dogged determination hits
paydirt when he is able to
arrange an interview with a
famous, but manipulative music
teacher with the right
contacts (the director
himself, Chen Kaige) who can
take Xiaochun all the way to
the top. Unfortunately,
Xiaochun turns it all upside
down by bemoaning the loss of
his relationship to Professor
Jiang and even selling his
violin to purchase an
expensive coat for Lili (Hong
Chen), the beautiful,
warm-hearted woman next door
with whom he has developed a
puppy love infatuation. The
new teacher takes him in
anyway, and it now appears
that Xiaochun may have finally
gotten on the right track to
become the world class violin
virtuoso his father has worked
so long and so hard for. The
downside is that for Xiaochun
the road seems to be a cold,
hard-edged and very lonely
one, with all the people he
loves slowly falling away from
his life. What will Xiaochun
do? As the first 30 minutes
of TOGETHER unfolded, it
seemed that this was going to
be yet another variation on
the peasant from a small
village who comes to the big
city to be both exhilarated
and overwhelmed, and finally
chooses to return realizing
how much better life in the
country was after all. In this
case, the story has a very
interesting twist, and it is
truly enjoyable because it is
able to move its audience
without resorting to the usual
devices of foul language, sex,
nudity, and violence. On the
other hand, the director
presents a simplistic picture
of innocence and love versus
materialism and greed, all
seen through the eyes of a
child whose intellectual
discernment has yet fully
matched the size of his
heart. Except for a few
misses, such as letting young
Xiaochun's role be too sullen
and withdrawn for his age,
director Chen Kaige manages to
play his audience's heart
strings as well as Xiaochun
plays his violin, even for a
materialistic Western one. As
a state sanctioned production
it is also truly remarkable
that an acknowledgment, if
muddled, of a heaven and
angels is made in the middle
of the movie, and the cast is
just about perfect in their
respective roles. For all the
importance that the heart is
given in the decision making
process in this movie, it
would be wise to keep in mind
the Scripture verse which
clearly states that "The heart
is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked; who
can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
Director Chen Kaige would have
been well advised to meditate
on these words as he set out
to bring forth
TOGETHER. Please address your
comments to: Alex Yemenidjian,
CEO MGM/UA 2500 Broadway
Street Santa Monica, CA
90404-3061 Phone: (310)
449-3000 Fax: (310) 449-3024

Rating: PG

Runtime: 116 minutes

Address Comments To:

Content:

(Ro, B, Acap, V, D, M) Light Romantic worldview about a father and son with a nod to the existence of Heaven and angels, but also with an anti-materialism theme; no obscene language; brief violence, scuffle and breaking things; no sex scenes but young materialistic woman has a rich lover and young boy develops a crush on her; no nudity but scantily dressed female hidden behind translucent curtain; no alcohol use; profuse smoking by many characters; and, miscellaneous immorality such as bribery.

GENRE: Drama

Ro

B

Acap

V

D

M

Summary:

TOGETHER is a very tender, sentimental movie about Xiaochun, a child violin prodigy approaching pubescence who is suddenly faced with making tough choices between his heart and the alluring promise of great fame and fortune. Except for a few misses, acclaimed director Chen Kaige and his talented cast manage to play the audience's heartstrings as well as Xiaochun plays his violin.

Review:

Guaranteed at the very least to put a lump in your throat, TOGETHER is a very tender, sentimental movie about the conflict which arises when a child approaching pubescence is suddenly faced with making tough choices between the tug of his immature heart, and the alluring promises of great fame and fortune. On another level, it can also be interpreted as either a political statement condemning the corrupt values of the Western World which elevates crass materialism over purity and love, or the results of leaving common sense behind and following the dictates of an immature, unbridled heart.

Young Xiaochun (Tang Yun) is a child prodigy. His fingers glide smoothly over the violin his mother left him before she died, and the music emanating from it is nothing short of glorious. His father Liu Cheng (Liu Peiqi) is steadfastly attempting to develop his son's career, and the break he had been hoping for has just arrived in the form of an invitation to compete at a prestigious Beijing conservatory. Father and son pack all their belongings and are soon on their way to the big city. Xiaochun does well in the competition, but, to their chagrin, they soon find out that it takes more than talent to break onto the world stage, it also takes bribes and connections, and even an official permit to just live in Beijing. The road to success is going to take longer than they had hoped, but Cheng is not discouraged. He retains the services of Professor Jiang (Wang Zhwen), an eccentric, grubby music teacher who has also noticed Xiaochun's talents.

Father and son find a very modest place to live, and things begin to look up. Eventually, Cheng's dogged determination hits paydirt when he is able to arrange an interview with a famous, but manipulative music teacher with the right contacts (the director himself, Chen Kaige) who can take Xiaochun all the way to the top. Unfortunately, Xiaochun turns it all upside down by bemoaning the loss of his relationship to Professor Jiang and even selling his violin to purchase an expensive coat for Lili (Hong Chen), the beautiful, warm-hearted woman next door with whom he has developed a puppy love infatuation. The new teacher takes him in anyway, and it now appears that Xiaochun may have finally gotten on the right track to become the world class violin virtuoso his father has worked so long and so hard for. The downside is that for Xiaochun the road seems to be a cold, hard-edged and very lonely one, with all the people he loves slowly falling away from his life. What will Xiaochun do?

As the first 30 minutes of TOGETHER unfolded, it seemed that this was going to be yet another variation on the peasant from a small village who comes to the big city to be both exhilarated and overwhelmed, and finally chooses to return realizing how much better life in the country was after all. In this case, the story has a very interesting twist, and it is truly enjoyable because it is able to move its audience without resorting to the usual devices of foul language, sex, nudity, and violence. On the other hand, the director presents a simplistic picture of innocence and love versus materialism and greed, all seen through the eyes of a child whose intellectual discernment has yet fully matched the size of his heart.

Except for a few misses, such as letting young Xiaochun's role be too sullen and withdrawn for his age, director Chen Kaige manages to play his audience's heart strings as well as Xiaochun plays his violin, even for a materialistic Western one. As a state sanctioned production it is also truly remarkable that an acknowledgment, if muddled, of a heaven and angels is made in the middle of the movie, and the cast is just about perfect in their respective roles. For all the importance that the heart is given in the decision making process in this movie, it would be wise to keep in mind the Scripture verse which clearly states that "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) Director Chen Kaige would have been well advised to meditate on these words as he set out to bring forth TOGETHER.

Please address your comments to:

Alex Yemenidjian, CEO

MGM/UA

2500 Broadway Street

Santa Monica, CA 90404-3061

Phone: (310) 449-3000

Fax: (310) 449-3024

In Brief: