The Children of Huang Shi

125 min. minutes | Rated R

Based on a true story, The Children of Huang Shi has sincerity to spare. What it lacks is vitality. Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars as a journalist who in 1937 helped rescue a group of Chinese orphans from the Japanese occupation. He manages to slip into the occupied zone where he witnesses Japanese brutality firsthand, falls in with a shady Chinese spy (Chow Yun-Fat), and falls for a nurse (Radha Mitchell), who lures him to (and abandons him at) a decrepit orphanage. Unfortunately, here the film screeches to a halt. And as long stretches of the film creak along, the few moments of genuine surprise are too brief. The film’s biggest weakness is Meyers’ feeble delivery. Only at the end, as the real-life survivors recount their memories of the protagonist over the closing credits, does The Children of Huang Shi achieve the impact it’s been straining for. The long march to get there is hardly worth the effort.


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Film Credits
Roger Spottiswoode
Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Radha Mitchell, Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Guang Li, Lin Ji, Matt Walker, Anastasia Kolpakova, Ping Su, Imai Hideaki