review by Neo

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An uneven, yet weird ambiguous work...
When I was a child; I wished I would just grow up, but somehow as I got older, I wish to be a child again. Ironic as it seems, I am a dreamer. Andy Lau has a habit of wearing body suits or heavy face changing make up, and somehow he gives out one of his better performances. Just as Running on Karma got him Best Actor and Love on a Diet got him commercial success, Wait Till You’re Older show a different side of Andy Lau – a child. This is definitely a different movie than a typical HK movie, but in terms of originality, one can not help but think about that 90s, Tom Hanks’s movie about a child becoming adult overnight. Just as Hanks realize the difficulty of adulthood, Lau realizes that the natural process of life can not be interrupted and that growing older may mean that there is no way back. The premises of the movie is initially fun and as it reaches the half way marks, it gets exciting of wanting to know what happen next and finally a truly thought provoking ending that neither please or dismiss. Underlying it all, the movie is heart searching in a way, but also a bit over done in terms of the sense of weirdness within the characters and many things are left resolve, whether it is a good thing or bad thing, remains on the audience perspective.

The movie goes like this: Twelve-year-old Kong is an unhappy child. He has not been happy since his mother's suicide three years ago, which he blames on his father and stepmother. He runs away from home one day and meets an eerie old man who claims he has a potion that can speed up the life process. As much as he would like to believe it, this is all baloney to him. So when he accidentally taints his blood with the potion, he hardly expects his fate is about to change forever. It is an impossible dream comes true when Kong wakes up the next morning to find himself already a twenty-year-old young man.

Perhaps, by being different is exactly the recent why this movie will gain a pretty high mark, but one underlying issue that is ever more relevant is family. What becomes of a child? How to a child grow to become who they are? All of this is shaped by how they are being brought up and how they are being accepted into this world. With breaking up of marriages at a rate better than 1 in 2, to what extent will it affect a child trying to grow up in a normal process? The problems between stepmother and stepson and father and son, however, with all being said, it is disappointing to realize that the movie does deal with these relevant issues, but rather instead of fully going into details it just skims through it like random events. It is unfortunate yet a downside to the movie, as it did have great potential that no other movie released this year can boast.

Andy Lau puts in a more than credible effort and yet another Best Actor award nomination will be without any doubt, but this time his acting is well refined, especially when he acts like an adult yet with a simple and straight forward mind of a child. It is one piece of acting that is difficult to pull off, especially when you are already 42 years old. However, his best scene will definitely be the much hyped – Andy Lau is 70 years old scene, where his face is all wrinkled and old, talking in a rather mature way, yet with a simple message and meaning to give out that seem so much like a 10 year old. Lives is unexpected and grows on everyday, people experience different things in their lives and as a result learn from them and move on. The interesting finale lend itself to the vital message it wants to deliver, that people who realize that they do not have long to live, will be willing to do things that they will not normally do. Think about it, if you have only 1 day to live, what would you do? I am sure, like myself, you would be doing things you have never done before and will try to reduce the regrets in your life. Then again who knows?

Once again, Cherrie Ying is as pretty as ever, a real natural actress and a real cute girl, Ying as I have said so many times before – is an actress with a bright future. In a rather limited role she expressed herself well, but it is once again a pity that her character was never given a proper ending, but her final lines sum it up brilliantly – when Lau asks – Don’t wait for him, and she simply reply – what I have is time. It strikes me suddenly that I realize in life, half of the time we are waiting for something to happen rather than going after something. Perhaps it is what you call – a total waste of time, but rather I would call – that’s the way life is.

All in all, Wait ‘Til You’re Older is not simply a movie about a kid growing up to become an adult overnight, but it is about more than that – life is a natural process, once the last minute has passed, it will not come back again. It is a pity that the movie never go into depth in the numerous of questions that it raised about humanity and family life and the importance of childhood, as you are who you are. People become who they are through their life time experiences and their childhood is the most vital ingredient. Sure, this may not be the most satisfying movie around, but it certainly isn’t yet another ROM, but rather a movie that makes you think, and even though it is disappointing that the movie have left so many grounds uncovered, as Wait ‘Til You’re Older is a movie that attempts to hits too many birds with one stone and as a result leaving the audience wanting more. Nonetheless, this movie isn’t about Andy Lau getting old, but rather for us to treasure every minute of our lives, as what is past is indeed past already… and sometimes it is better to wait for things to happen rather than acting on impulse, as some mistakes can never be turned back into a positive forever…

I rate it 8/10

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Genre: Drama
Director: Director: Teddy Chan Tak-Sum
Cast: Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Karen Mok Man-Wai, Felix Wong Yat-Wah, Cherrie Ying Choi-Yi, Gordon Lam Ka-Tung, Sit Lap-Yin; Cameos by: Feng Xiaogang, Li Bingbing and Chapman To Man-Chat
Reviewed by Neo (Andrew), October 2005