Movie Review: 'How Long Will I Love U' Is Enchanting Sci-Fi Romance

How Long Will I Love U Lu Ming Lei Jiayin Gu Xiaojiao Tong Liya
“How Long Will I Love U” (“Chao shi kong tong ju”) is an enchanting romance that entails time travel, and two incredible lead performances. Love stories are a tough thing to get right on-screen. There has to be a great, well, story and ample chemistry between the leads to make a movie romance work. Writer/director Su Lun’s “How Long Will I Love U” has both.

The romantic dramedy, which is based on an idea from Xu Zheng, tells the tale of Lu Ming (Lei Jiayin). He is a struggling property designer living in China circa 1999. Nearly twenty years later in 2018, Gu Xiaojiao (Tong Liya) is trying to find happiness and security. Both of which continue to elude her. That is where each lovable character finds themselves when “How Long Will I Love U” takes a sci-fi turn.

Lu Ming and Gu Xiaojiao are sharing the same apartment in different timelines. Only to have the universe literally merge them as their individual version of the dwelling becomes one. The sequence that shows their two worlds collide is impressively rendered with whimsical realism.

There is a wonderful mythos that springs forth from this development. The logistics of which are super compelling and fascinating to contemplate. In short, the cosmic event creates a portal to the two timelines, which Lu Ming and Gu Xiaojiao can both visit. Hence, their ability to time travel.

From there, Lu Ming and Gu Xiaojiao come to realize the situation they have been jointly thrust into. Each of them starts to rely on one another, as an understanding, respect, companionship, and eventually, affection begin to form between the pair.

In a unique move, “How Long Will I Love U” actually makes you wonder if its protagonists will fall in love.

How many times have you actually watched a movie romance and wondered that? Personally speaking, very few times, and that is part of “How Long Will I Love U”’s charm. It genuinely keeps you guessing, and it is impossible to predict how it will end. There is a lot of depth and drama to Lu Ming and Gu Xiaojiao’s journey together.

They develop as characters individually and separately, ultimately becoming the partner the other needs. As someone who is not innately a massive fan of time travel and wormholes; “How Long Will I Love U” proves to be one of the exceptions to make a positive impression. It is a movie that makes the most out of why such a storyline can be so appealing.

It is steadily directed with pacing that is swift without feeling urgent, and thoughtful without showing any tedium. As a romance, it is lovely to see two characters grow towards love rather than experience it at first sight. Those are the kind of loves that make this viewer convinced they will last.

“How Long Will I Love U” features incredible performances from its leads. They both carry the movie with rarified turns that take an out-of-this-world scenario and ground it with the necessary emotions to make it believable.

Lei Jiayin is captivating as Lu Ming. A role that requires him to grapple with a considerable range as the movie progresses. In equal measure, his screen partner, Tong Liya, is absolutely mesmeric as Gu Xiaojiao. She is a vivid character that Tong imbues with endless charm and moxie.

Together, Lei Jiayin and Tong Liya are an unstoppable on-screen force.

Few movies have left me with so many emotions as they have come to an end. “How Long Will I Love U” is a haunting romance wrapped in science fiction wonder, making it a must-see.

Rating: 9/10

“How Long Will I Love U” (“Chao shi kong tong ju”) is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

[Featured Image by Beijing Enlight Pictures / Well Go USA Entertainment]