A simple story carved from Chinese culture. Traditions and history are on display here as much as the inner and outer lives of the characters. The visual embellishments are mostly restrained but you can see them waiting, wanting to burst out. This is Zhang Ziyi's feature film debut and she is lovely to behold, dressed in her fuschia red coat against the sprawling rural landscapes, flapping her arms like a child when she runs, but she has an oddly shaped head. I found this feature of hers a little weird, kept wondering where the back of her head ran off to. All said and done, a minor distraction in what is another touching and very human tale from director Zhang Yimou befrore he went all wuxia on us. I love the way the love is grounded, given foundation, in the schoolhouse the father helped build and his legacy helped rebuild. Sad though, that the mother remained illiterate.