After his catastrophic English-language debut Killing Me Softly, anything approaching a return to form for Chinese helmer Chen Kaige has to be welcomed.
A conventional tale of a humble peasant who travels to Beijing to find a tutor for his violin prodigy son, Together With You has a distinct whiff of Billy Elliot about it. Kaige steers clear of mawkishness, however, by offering a critical view of China's yawning class divide and its embracing of Western values.
The performances from Peiqi Liu as the uneducated father, Yun Tang as his gifted offspring and Hong Chen (the director's wife) as the tart the boy falls for are excellent, while the score is predictably lush. What's absent here is any authentic emotion, Kaige lazily resorting to tear-jerking tactics that end up selling both his film and the viewer short.