19th century China. Two women, Nina (Li Bingbing) and Sophia (Gianna Jun), embark on a formal friendship - or 'laotong' - that gives them a secret freedom from the binds of a fiercely male-dominated society. Greater strife, though, is just around the corner...
Taking a much-loved novel as its starting point, Wang's film doesn't do much more than splash colour on a story of deep-felt friendship. Not even the second best Hugh Jackman cameo of the year can save it from being little more than a period curio.
Reviewed by Anna Smith
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