Subsumed by the bigger picture, the plot resurfaces at the end to utterly devastating effect. Only a film with the epic sweep of So Long, My Son could pull off such a narrative feat so beautifully.
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A long, leisurely drama directed with self-assurance.
Beautifully played — especially by Wang Jingchun — So Long, My Son is sprawling, audacious, sometimes bewildering, ultimately moving. It tests your patience but it’s worth it.
A challenging narrative structure - withholding key information and skipping between several time frames - makes this film a daunting watch overall. But Wang’s ambition and seriousness, aided by strong ensemble performances, ensure it is a formidable and, for the most part, involving work of novelistic scope.
At just over three-hours, So Long, My Son is an emotionally wrenching film that’s epic in scope but intimate in feeling.
So Long, My Son is a piercingly, profoundly moving picture that peels and exposes the senses.
It’s Lee Chatametikool’s temporal-jumping edits that define this compelling drama.
So measured is the pacing, so sinuous the timeline, so understated the subtle ache of the performances that you don’t immediately realise that Wang Xiaoshuai’s exquisite three-hour drama has been performing the emotional equivalent of open-heart surgery on the audience since pretty much the first scene.