Together With You review

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You won't be surprised to hear that Chen Kaige's latest is an improvement on his last, 2002's erotic clunker Killing Me Softly. But you might be disappointed to find that this father-son hankie-wetter still falls some way short of the director's best, Farewell My Concubine.

It's a great-looking yarn, no question, centred on 13-year-old violin prodigy Xiaochun (Tang Yun), who moves with his dorky dad (Liu Peiqi) to Beijing in search of professional tutoring. Trouble is, it's money rather than genuine talent that's music to the top schools' ears, leaving our young hero in the eccentric hands of cat-loving Professor Jiang (Wang Zhiwen).

Stuffed with virtuoso string-sawing, this is as easy on the ear as it is on the eye, but that's as far as it reaches. Together With You starts up a critique of class division then drowns it out with clichés and mush, the ending proving overly sentimental. Fine if you fancy a casual blub, but Kaige can hit higher notes than this.

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