Actors: Romain Duris
Director: Cedric Klapisch
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English, French
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Cohen Media Group
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Run Time: 117 minutes
There are plenty of sequels to action movies, because there are always new villains and injustices for heroes to battle against. There are no shortages of horror sequels, giving the impression that some monsters will never die; at least not as long as their survival continues to sell tickets. The one genre which rarely sees a sequel is the romantic comedy, because to continue the story often means admitting that the ‘happily ever after’ ending from the previous installment was somewhat of a lie. Filmmaker Cédric Klapisch tackles this impossible task for the second time in one narrative, with time between each sequel being his only saving grace.
The first time we met aspiring writer Xavier (Romain Duris) was in 2002, in the shared Spanish apartment of the first film’s title (L’Auberge Espagnole), where he began his journey as an aspiring writer. This is also where Xavier met many of the longtime friends and on-again, off-again romantic entanglements. These characters were brought back for a second narrative and a new romance amongst the same group of friends with Russian Dolls (2005), giving Xavier a new happy ending with Wendy (Kelly Reilly). Nearly a decade later, we join Xavier and Wendy at the tail end of their relationship as the introduction to Chinese Puzzle, what we must assume will be the last installment in Klapisch’s international romantic franchise.
Despite the name, Chinese Puzzle takes place in
. When Wendy
leaves Xavier for a new lover in New York City ,
taking their children with her, he follows in an act of blind faith. Without a
job, a visa to stay in the country long term, or any place to live, Xavier
moves into a small apartment in Manhattan Chinatown and
attempts to build a new life. The focus this time around is much more mature
and responsible, with the priorities lying with the children rather than
various romantic exploits. This requires even greater precision from Klapisch
in the integration of believable romance in Xavier’s life, which parallels with
his struggle to write his next book.
The Blu-ray release of Chinese Puzzle includes a couple of extras, from cast & crew interviews to a making-of featurette. There is also a trailer.
Entertainment Value: 8.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 7.5/10
Historical Significance: 7/10
Special Features: 6.5/10