An Autumn's Tale

This is a simply told romantic tale of two immigrants against the backdrop of New York City that will take a hold of your heart.  Directed by Mabel Cheung (Eight Taels of Gold, Soong Sisters, City of Glass), the film focuses on the two main characters and the relationship that slowly grows between them. There are no great dramatics here – just a story of two people who find each other in a foreign land. There is not really even a plot in the sense of one continuous narrative story. Instead, it is a series of short vignettes, some touching moments, the use of New York City and the exploration of the characters that propels this story to an emotional fairy tale ending. "Table for Two".

Much of the charm of this film lies in the two main actors – Chow Yun Fat and Cherie Chung. They have been paired in a number of films, but of the ones I have seen this one displays their best chemistry as they both give subtle nuanced heartfelt performances. It is often more body language than what they say that is meaningful.

The film begins with Cherie in HK getting ready to visit her boyfriend and begin college in NY. Her boyfriend is out of town though, so a distant relative is picking her up at the airport. This is CYF – who is called Figurehead. To Cherie’s mother this name signifies that he must be a very important man in NY. It turns out that he is far from this. He is a busboy, a free spirit, a gambler – but with a kind heart and a sense of honor and loyalty. He takes a day at a time – whenever he loses his last dollar gambling – he philosophizes “no more money, no more worries”.
CYF and Cherie have little in common – he is ten years older, not well educated, rough around the edges – but it soon becomes clear that he is falling deeply in love with Cherie – and who can blame him as she gives one of her warmest and most winning performances ever. Cherie though is aware of their differences and says to herself  “I feel free around him, but he is not the kind of man you marry” and on top of that her ex-boyfriend comes back into her life.
This is just a wonderfully sweet little film and I loved how much of it is filmed on the streets of NY. Interesting that two of my favorite HK romances – this film and Eight Taels of Gold were both directed by Mabel Cheung. Both films are similar in the subtle way things unfold. More is left unsaid than said, but no doubt is left as to how much the characters care for each other. Both are definite recommendations.

My rating for this film: 8.5