Lost in Time (2003) / Drama-Romance
aka Mong bat liu

MPAA Rated: Not rated, but probably PG for some adult themes
Running Time: 109 min.

Cast: Cecilia Cheung, Lau Ching Wan, Harashima Daichi, Louis Koo
Director: Derek Yee

Screenplay: James Yuen, Fong Ching
Review published May 2, 2004

Lost in Time is a modest tearjerker that winds up succeeding because we really do end up feeling for the characters, hoping they can find some sort of happiness in the end.  Directed by Derek Yee, this is far from the flashy action or broad humor you're probably accustomed to seeing from a Hong Kong release, but that's probably because dramas aren't promoted as well throughout the world. 

Cecilia Cheung (Second Time Around, Para Para Sakura) stars as Holly, who finds herself stuck with her stepson and no money when her minibus driving husband gets killed in a fatal accident.  She decides to continue her husband's business, but knows next to nothing about how to succeed in the cutthroat world of Hong Kong transportation, and ends up scrounging for every penny at the end of the day.  Things turn for the better when she meets Hale (Wan, Lifeline) who bails her out from time to time, including showing her the ropes on the routes she should take while on the roads.  Although not meaning to, Hale slowly becomes a surrogate father to the young boy, but Holly keeps pushing him away, not wanting any assistance.  However, she also can't seem to make it on her own.

Lost in Time isn't a long movie in duration, but it does feel like it.  Yee takes his time with the characters and the meager plot, letting them develop on their own time and in their own way.  Some viewers might lose patience with it quickly, but for those who do stick it out, there is a nice payoff down the road when Holly confronts the fact that she has to let go of things if she ever is to proceed with the next chapter of her life.

The acting job is spotty, but the two leads do a fine job in making their characters wholly sympathetic, yet not overly sweet either.  In the end, so hard to dislike -- Lost in Time is a heartfelt story that won't leave family drama fans feeling that they lost time watching it.

Qwipster's rating:

2004 Vince Leo