Us and Them – Review

Genre Drama
Directed by Rene Liu
Starring Jing Boran, Zhou Dongyu, Tian Zhuangzhuang
Released on April 28, 2018 (Mainland China), June 22, 2018(International), August 2, 2018 (Hong Kong)
Flixxpanda Rating 7/10
Channel Netflix

Us and Them, Netflix’s latest film will have you shed a couple of tears if you’re a sappy romantic at heart like me.

“Why has this world never had a story that is happy from beginning to end?”, says Xiaoxiao Fang, one of the main characters of the film and I feel like that line encompasses the movie perfectly from start to finish.

We tend to give the least priority to relationships we’ve already forged, people we already have in our corner. We tend to take them for granted. Instead of nurturing healthy relationships that could eventually turn into something beautiful, we destroy them. It’s inherent in our nature. It’s in our blood. I don’t know why, but we do, we self-destruct and destroy people we love. Us and Them reflects this perfectly.

Our main leads, Lin Jianqing (Jing Boran) and  Xiaoxiao Fang (Zhou Dongyu) meet on a train and fall into an easy friendship. They become inseparable over time. Xiaoxiao is innocent and clearly doesn’t know how the world works. She’s starry-eyed and a bit jaded. However there is beauty in her naivety. which makes her instantly lovable. Jianqing on the other hand is more mature, grounded and rational. They’ve both come to Beijing to make it big and build successful careers. They’re chemistry is beautiful and their personas while wildly different make a very compatible team.

Where Jianqing struggles to come to terms with his feelings for Xiaoxiao, she’s seemingly unaffected as she dates a string of boys who leave her heartbroken every single time. She always ends up being consoled and put together by Jianqing. She doesn’t really care about consequences or the effect she has on him. Eventually though, the two find peace in each others’ arms and fall in love, moaning the loss of what they could have had for years had they realized earlier.

Although the two seem perfect together at first, as time passes by in a city as busy as Beijing, they go their separate ways. While Jianqing seemed to be the more rational of the two at the beginning of the film, it becomes clear as the years pass by that Xiaoxiao has grown up to be a strong, level-headed mature young woman. There is something very melancholy about watching her grow as her innocence is ripped away.

Fast forward and years down the lane the two meet at an airport where under curious circumstances they’re forced to share a hotel room. The two reminisce over shared memories and the film ends on a nostalgic note.

Us and Them is beautifully shot. Directed by Rene Liu, the cinematography is stunning. The film is paced slow, you never feel as though interactions between characters are rushed, but it’s fast enough that you will never be bored. Everything seems to fall into place naturally. Elegant dialogue combined with a perfect soundtrack make the film quite the work of art and even though the plot is familiar, it still leaves you wanting more.

Video Credit – Netflix | YouTube

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