Reviewed by: grimes
Pui Yan (Sylvia Chang) is perhaps the queen of self-sacrificing Chinese woman (a very popular subject in Chinese films). She enters into not one, but two marriages of convenience for the benefit of others. In the first, she marries a well-off restaurant owner and moves with him to England, where his restaurant is located. She does this for the sake of her grandmother, who is suffering from lung disease (presumably cancer or emphysema).
Yip Kai Sheng, the restaurant owner, has a semi-paraplegic daughter, Yip Fan (Anita Yuen), whom he neglects. Pui Yan, being the giving soul that she is, takes Yip Fan under her wing. When Yip Kai Sheng dissapears, Pui Yan goes to Hong Kong to contact a branch of her family that has become extremely wealthy as a cigarette manufacturer and distributor.
The script for this film is pretty predictable stuff and would have worked as a made for TV movie in USA. What I found most frustrating is that it consistently missed out on opportunities to take a more interesting direction. For example, nothing is made of the fact that Pui Yan's grandmother dies of disease caused by cigarettes, despite the fact that Pui Yan ends up working for her family's cigarette manufacturing company. Pui Yan's relationship with Ko Chun (Winston Chao) is similarly unexplored, though it has some fascinating nuances that are only barely hinted at.
I Want To Go On Living's saving graces are the performances of the cast, particularly Sylvia Chang. However, it is weighed down by a fairly unimaginative script. Overall, I was dissapointed because this film had the potential to be better than it is.
Reviewed by: shelly
An ambitious showcase for its two female leads: Sylvia Chang is gently radiant as Pui Yan, while capturing a woman whose intelligence and pride fuel her climb through a male-dominated world of wealth and power. And Anita Yuen is remarkable as Yip Fan: her powerful, moving, controlled portrayal of a physically and mentally wounded young woman's self-realization lingers in the memory. These two performances, and intriguing cinematography, inspire a film which is otherwise held back by its screenplay. Based on a novel by Liang Fengyi, the plot might have fit better into a miniseries: too many crises, one after the other, overload the film with melodrama and prevent any sort of narrative rhythm from establishing itself. Still, not to be missed for its stars.