In this light Chinese drama, a youngish journalist starts to reevaluate her life after she’s diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Unfortunately for her, she can’t do much soul- searching because so many people are pulling on her attention: her emotionally needy mother, a money-obsessed friend, and the elderly businessman whose biography she’s agreed to ghostwrite in order to pay for her surgery. First-time writer-director Teng Congcong juggles the various interpersonal conflicts with finesse, but she rarely achieves a sense of emotional consequence despite the life-or-death crisis at the story’s center. Though the movie never feels overstuffed, too much of the drama feels canned; the mother-daughter conflict in particular recalls numerous other films and TV programs. The most successful passages tend to be those concerning the heroine’s sexual desire, which she’s afraid she’ll lose after her surgery. Teng generates a sense of urgency from the character’s anxiety to experience sexual satisfaction before it’s too late. In Mandarin with subtitles.
By Ben Sachs