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Chinese language cinema

Film review: The Last Women Standing – Shu Qi plays leftover woman

Adapted by a first-time director from her own novel, this Shanghai-set drama about a woman’s desperate wait to find the right life partner is low on humour and high on clichés

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 January, 2016, 6:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 January, 2016, 7:32pm

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single Chinese woman in their late 20s or beyond, must be in desperate want of a husband. Such is the zeitgeist of contemporary China that sad-faced, career-driven beauties are now habitually terrorising romantic films for that elusive “I Do”.

This Shanghai-set film, adapted by first-time director Lou Lou from her own novel, merely maximises the escapist quotient by casting heartthrob Eddie Peng Yu-yan in the lead.

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For the thirtysomething Sheng Ruxi (played by Shu Qi), whose surname unmistakably echoes the slang term sheng nu (leftover women), the wait for a perfect partner is growing more despairing by the day. With an ultra-anxious mother (Pan Hong) who would rather die than see her daughter stay single, Ruxi is further annoyed by the doctor (Xing Jiadong) she’s fixed up with. Could her new colleague, the dashing 25-year-old Ma Sai (Peng), offer last-minute salvation?

A largely humourless drama that’s convinced of the grimness of its heroine’s situation, The Last Women Standing coasts through the unremarkable dates of Ruxi and Ma Sai without really capturing their romantic sparks. Shu carries the film despite her embarrassingly written part, while Chin Shih-Chieh, as Ruxi’s father, delivers a touching monologue that briefly rebuffs everyone’s silly obsession with marriage. Too bad the rest is dime-a-dozen leftover-stigma clichés.

The Last Women Standing opens on January 28