American Dreams in China (2013)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
Critic Reviews for American Dreams in China
[It] turns out not to be about American dreams at all - but universal ones.
Audience Reviews for American Dreams in China
Veteran Hong Kong director Peter Chan is presenting us a real life rags to riches story which began in the 1980's China and is still going on. I saw this film last year and could not find it on the RT database and I am glad that finally I could finish this review started year ago! The screenplay was written by Zhou Zhiyong and Zhang Ji, and the cast includes some really great actors like Huang Xiaoming, Deng Chao, Tong Dawei, Du Juan and Wang Zhen. [img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/57/American_Dreams_in_China_poster.jpg/220px-American_Dreams_in_China_poster.jpg[/img] I enjoyed watching this movie, but I will have to say that is designed purely for Chinese audiences. It is possible that ex-pats like me will enjoy it, too. The film begins during the period of sweeping economic reforms in China in the 1980's when the book-loving farm boy Cheng Dongqing (Huang Xiaoming) with ambitious, self-assured Meng Xiaojun (Deng Chao) and the slightly flaky, poetic Wang Yang (Tong Dawei), are studying together at university in Beijing and simultaneously prepping for American visa interviews. Wang is the first to be granted one but forfeits it to stay with his Western girlfriend, and Cheng is repeatedly denied one. Only Meng actually gets a study visa, and as he's leaving he tells his friends he has no intention of returning to China. Cheng and Wang build a massively successful school, New Dream, from the ashes of Cheng's misfortune (his girlfriend got a visa too, and Cheng lost his university teaching job for tutoring on the side) and Wang's innate ability to connect with students, often through Hollywood movies. The story spans almost 30 years, so while all this is happening, Chan inserts references to major moments in contemporary Chinese history into the story: Beijing's first KFC in 1992 becomes Cheng's first classroom; the 1999 bombing of Chinese embassy in Belgrade sees the trio forced to defend themselves against angry mob charges of being traitors for running an English (meaning American) school... In general, Chinese adore Americans and Chan has managed some pithy observations about the perceptions commonly held among Chinese of Americans and vice versa... Enjoyable acting, good directing, dynamic writing... and China you do not know!
This film has real heart and passion about it. The friends who create their educational company are represented by fantastic actors who have the audience cheering for them as they take on the top U.S. brass.
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