The Lovers (1994)

Directed by
A master at work
Reviewed by Simon on 2006-01-07

Tsui Hark's take on the classic story of "The Butterfly Lovers" (see The Love Eterne for another example) is a funny and heart-warming romance. Charlie Yeung plays a clumsy and un-ladylike daughter whose father wishes to marry her off to improve her status, but she is worth so little that they disguise her as a man and send her to school. There she meets the poor but honest Nicky Wu, and love blossoms - but Nicky doesn't know he's falling in love with a girl.

The story is essential Romeo & Juliet with gender confusion (a plot device Shakespeare wasn't above using himself). The visuals for the film are absolutely luscious, with stunning art direction, production design and cinematography. The film is carried by the excellent performance of the leads - you can't help falling in love with them a little yourself.

Tsui Hark was the master of re-inventing classic stories and genres, and this is another great example of that talent at work.