The movie “Best is Yet to Come” is about Han Fudong, a journalist who uncovered the truth that the discrimination against those with hepatitis B in China was ingrained in the system. This revelation caused a scandal, as the illness is widespread in China with around 100 million people affected in 2003. As a result, Han Fudong became a renowned reporter in the country. However, the movie primarily follows his story leading up to this event.
The film “The Best is Yet to Come” will be shown at Asian Pop Up Cinema.
The story starts with Han Dong, the main character, attempting to get a job interview at a newspaper during a job fair. Unfortunately, due to his lack of qualifications and experience as a high school dropout, he is ignored. Han Dong and his girlfriend, Xiao Zhu, have been struggling since moving from their factory jobs in the country to Beijing. Xiao Zhu lives in a rundown basement at the mannequin manufacturing company she works for, while Han Dong shares an apartment with his old friend, Zhang Bo, who is studying in college. Eventually, Han Dong is offered an internship at Jingcheng Shibao newspaper thanks to senior reporter Huang Jiang, who had previously liked one of his articles on a forum. Although the internship is unpaid and there is no guarantee of a full-time job, Han Dong’s luck changes when he uncovers a scheme involving forged blood tests to conceal Hepatitis-B status. This puts him in a moral dilemma between success and doing what is right.
Wang Jing is the director of a film that makes a thought-provoking statement about the inner workings of the Chinese system, particularly in 2003. The film touches on issues such as racism towards certain diseases and the practice of companies and employers requiring medical exams for even office jobs. It also delves into the tragic deaths of miners in a coal town and the questionable actions of the company and local authorities. Additionally, the film sheds light on the workings of journalism, specifically in regards to front-page news. The inhumane working and living conditions faced by illegal residents in Beijing also play a significant role in the story, providing a rich context for the movie. One of the most well-written and well-acted characters is Huang Jiang, played by Songwen Zhang. Han Dong, portrayed by Bai-Ke, is a young idealistic man who will stop at nothing to become a reporter and maintain his integrity, which is portrayed exceptionally in the film.
However, a problem arises when Wang Jing deviates from these themes and shifts the focus onto the characters and their relationships with each other. For instance, Han Dong’s relationship with his girlfriend appears to have been added later in the movie and is completely disconnected from the main storyline, making Miao Miao’s character as a devoted woman seem out of place. Similarly, Han Dong’s relationship with Zhang Bo is not given enough attention despite its significance in his initial struggles, and the pivotal moment that causes him to change his mind lacks impact both in context and delivery. Once again, Yang Song’s character suffers due to weak writing.
The same is true for the dynamic between the man who operates the blood “donation” business and his daughter, which introduces a somewhat overly dramatic element that persists throughout the movie. This is particularly evident towards the end. The scenes with the floating pen and the newspaper also feel unnecessary and add to the overall clutter in the film. Despite the generally fitting pace, Matthieu Laclau’s editing proves to be problematic as there are many unnecessary scenes in the movie.
However, the cinematography by Nelson Lik-wai Yu is superb. He skillfully showcases the dilapidated settings where most of the story unfolds with a combination of artistry and authenticity, enhanced by the exceptional coloring.
Although there are some problems, primarily with the writing, “The Best is Yet to Come” is a significant and relatable movie that offers insightful social and political commentary while remaining entertaining to watch.