Chinese love movies: 20 best melodramas

Asian cinema has a huge army of fans all over the world thanks to action films where masters of oriental martial arts shine. No less beautiful are the lyrical films of the countries of the East, surprising with their visual beauty and exotic customs. But even among them, Chinese melodramas stand out for their poetry, wonderful music and originality of plots, often based on real historical events.

August Never Ends (2021)

The heroine of this novelty movie in the genre of melodrama romantic Xiao Yao, immersed in dreams of the stage, is far from the prose of life. Her best friend, the purposeful Wei Yan, helps her connect with reality. The third in their small company as a teenager was the charming Zhao Yan, but the resulting love triangle almost destroyed the friendship of the grown-up heroes. Perhaps the situation will be corrected by the appearance of a new friend, accidentally saved by one of the girls?

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
Ba yue wei yang

Genre:
Melodrama, drama

Actors:
Luo Jin, Tan Songyun, Elaine Zhong…

Country:
China

Rating:
IMDb – 4.4


Love After Love (2020)

A touching Chinese film about the impossible, and therefore particularly penetrating love of an inexperienced girl for a cynical playboy. Young Wei Long travels from Shanghai to pre-war Hong Kong with the intention of going to university. Since the family does not have money to study, she turns to her aunt for help. Despite the conflict with Wei Long’s father, Madame Liang does not refuse shelter to the poor relative, but demands that she be more than kind to her guests, wealthy men, one of whom the niece falls in love with.

Original title:
Di yi lu xi ang

Genre:
Drama, melodrama

Actors:
Sandra Ma, Fei Yu, Eddie Peng…

Country:
China

Rating:
IMDb – 5.6


Better Days (2019)

China’s Oscar-nominated crime melodrama centers on lonely high school student Chen Nian. Adding to the stress of preparing for college is bullying from classmates who bullied a previous victim to suicide. Chen Nian has no one to turn to for help, as her mother is constantly on the road. Suddenly, the schoolgirl finds a bodyguard – a homeless child Xiao Bei, whom she herself saved from beating. Can two loneliness become salvation for each other?

Original title:
Shao nian de ni

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, crime

Actors:
Zhou Dongyu, Jackson Yi, Yin Fan …

Country:
China, Hong Kong

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.6


I love you the way you are (2019)

Chinese films about love and passion, made in such a way as to worry and cry, alternate with light melodramas, and this is one of them. Mom tells the fidget Zhou LinLin to study while the light is on at the excellent student Fang Yuke in the window opposite. The resourceful LinLin introduces the nerd to the school’s first beauty so that dates with her take up all his time. But the romance lasted only a week, and LinLin again had to sit down to study, thanks to which she entered a prestigious university, where she met Fang Yuke and his former passion.

Original title:  
Shen wei yi ge pang zi

Genre:  
Melodrama

Actors:  
Derek Chan, Qi Yandi, Ma Mengwei…

Country:  
China

Rating:  
IMDb – 7.8


Us and Them (2018)

Having met on a long-distance train , young provincials Xiaoxiao and Jianqing set off to conquer Beijing. Jianqing is building a career as a computer designer, while Xiaoxiao is looking for a fiance in the capital. The girl meets with mature wealthy men, for the time being not noticing the romantic affection of a friend. A new meeting of heroes took place on an airplane a decade later. Flying together, Jianqing and Xiaoxiao recall their youthful dreams and aspirations, trying to figure out if there is a future for their relationship?

Original title:
Hou lai de wo men

Genre:
Melodrama, drama

Actors:
Jing Bozhan, Zhou Dongyu, Tian Zhuangzhuang …

Country:
China, Taiwan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 7.4


Ash is the purest white (2018)

One of the best Chinese films of recent years, filmed in the genre of crime melodrama, won many festival awards. Petty gangster Bin is the owner of a nightclub in a mining town in the early 2000s, and Qiao is his lover and right hand in all matters. One day, Qiao saves Bin at the cost of his own freedom. After leaving prison five years later, the heroine of the film goes across the country in search of her beloved man. But will he be happy to meet his girlfriend?

Original title:
Jiang hu er nu

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, crime

Actors:
Zhao Tao, Liao Fan, Diao Yinan…

Country:
China, France, Japan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.9


River of Sadness (2018)

The inseparable Yi Yao and Qi Ming study together and support each other in everything since childhood. But the idyll comes to an end when a student named Tang Xiaomi appears at the school. Having laid eyes on Qi Ming, the new girl decides to quarrel him with her faithful friend and for this she is ready even for meanness. Tang Xiaomi learns the secret of Yi Yao and tells the whole wide world about it. For Yi Yao, dark days are coming, which a guy from a parallel class unexpectedly helps to survive.

Original title:
Bei shang ni liu cheng he

Genre:
Drama, melodrama

Actors:
Ren Min, Zhao Yingbo, Xin Yunlai …

Country:
China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 6.2


How long will our love last? (2018)

The heroes of the Chinese comedy melodrama about fantastic love did not know each other until one day they woke up in the same bed. Their meeting is all the more surprising because they live at different times – the architect Lu Ming from 1999 miraculously ends up in 2018, where his apartment is occupied by a girl realtor Gu Xiaojiao. It is not easy for her to believe that a stranger from the past is telling the truth, but the facts are convincing, and sympathy arises between young people. But how long can the lovers be together before the time portal closes?

Original title:
Chao shi kong tong ju

Genre:
Melodrama, comedy, fantasy

Actors:
Lei Jiayin, Tong Liya, Xu Zheng …

Country:
China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 6.4


Love Online/Offline (2016)

Popular students of the prestigious Bei Wei University and Xiao Nai do not know each other. Young people excel not only in studies, but also in computer games , where they have no equal. Due to the virtuoso style of play, few people believe that Bei Wei’s cute avatar really hides a fragile girl, and not a tough guy. Wanting to reveal the true face of her rival, Xiao Nai makes a virtual marriage proposal on behalf of his character. But what happens when the “gaming spouses” meet in real life?

Original title:
Wei wei yi xiao hen qing cheng

Genre:
Melodrama

Actors:
Angela Baby, Jing Bozhan, Bai Yu…

Country:
China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.5


Palace (2013)

A Chinese movie about love in palace interiors is a one-episode spin-off of a historical series about court passions and intrigues. 12-year-old Chen Xiang and Liu Li were honored to be taken to the imperial palace as maids. The life of poor girls is not easy, but they endure all hardships for the ghostly chance of becoming a concubine, and even the wife of a crowned lady. Girlfriends share sorrows and joys, but friendship is tested when young beauties become rivals in the struggle for the prince’s attention.

Original title:
Gong suo chen xiang

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, history

Actors:
Zhou Dongyu, Chen Xiao, Zhu Zixiao …

Country:
China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 5.9


Love is not blind (2011)

A box office hit from Chinese authors in the genre of a romantic comedy about an employee of a Beijing wedding agency. When arranging dream weddings for clients, Huang Xiaoxian hides the fact that she herself is upset to tears and her heart is broken by breaking up with her boyfriend after seven years of relationship. A caring boss and a metrosexual colleague help the girl survive a personal crisis and believe in love again, drawing her into funny and piquant situations.

Original title:
Shi Lian 33 Tian

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, comedy

Actors:
Bai Baihe, Wen Zhang, Guo Jingfei …

Country:
China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 6.5


Under the branches of the hawthorn (2010)

Based on real dramatic events during the “cultural revolution” in China, a feature film about forbidden love from the famous director Zhang Yimou. In the early 1970s, high school student Jing ends up in a village for “re-education”, where she meets the geologist Sun. Young people do not have the right to mutual feelings, since she is the daughter of a political prisoner, and he is the son of a major military leader. The destiny of lovers is risky secret meetings in secluded places, but what happens if they are exposed?

Original title:
Shan zha shu zhi lian

Genre:
Drama, melodrama

Actors:
Li Xuejian, Chen Taisheng, Zhou Dongyu …

Country:
China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.1

Age limit:
16+


Dishonest please do not disturb (dilogue, 2008 and 2010)

Having lived in America for many years, but never married, the forty-year-old bachelor Qin Fen returns to his homeland in search of a worthy bride. It soon turns out that the Chinese women have changed a lot, and it is almost impossible to find among them a beauty with an old-fashioned attitude to the role of a woman in marriage. Qin Fen still meets the girl of her dreams, but flight attendant Liang’s heart is occupied by a married man. However, Liang agrees to marry the hero, setting only one condition…

Original title:
Fei cheng wu rao

Genre:
Melodrama, comedy

Actors:
Ge Yu, Shu Qi, Fan Wei…

Country:
China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 6.8


Lust (2007)

The action of a historical melodrama based on real events takes place in 1940 in Shanghai. The actors of the youth troupe planned to eliminate the official of the puppet government, Mr. Yi, by sending Wang Jiazhi to him under the guise of the businessman ‘s wife, Mrs. Mack. But Yi was careful and the attack failed. Three years later, Mr. Yi and the fake Mrs. Mac meet again, and passion flares up between them. Will Wang Jiazhi complete his mission? Because of the explicit scenes, the role in the film cost a career in China to aspiring actress Tang Wei.

Original title: Se, jie

Genre:
Thriller, drama, romance

Actors:
Tony Leung Chu Wai, Tang Wei, Joan Chen …

Country:
Taiwan, USA, Hong Kong, China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
18+


Zhou Yu Train (2002)

Romantic natures should watch this poetic melodrama with a professional Russian translation, where one of the most beautiful and famous actresses in China, Gong Li, plays. Her heroine, named Zhou Yu, paints ceramics, but leaves work twice a week to meet her lover, an aspiring poet who lives in another city. On the train, she has a constant companion, an energetic veterinarian, and there comes a time when the girl has to decide which of the two guys is the real object of her passion.

Original title:
Zhou Yu de huo che

Genre:
Drama, melodrama

Actors:
Gong Li, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Sun Honglei …

Country:
Hong Kong, China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 6.5

Age limit:
12+


Balzac and the Chinese dressmaker (2002)

In the midst of China’s infamous “cultural revolution” of the 1970s, two students, Luo and Ma, are exiled among other intelligentsia for re-education in a remote village. Romantic guys, even in exile, find the opportunity to read the books of their favorite, but banned by the Party, writers Balzac and Dumas. Moreover, they manage to bring the spirit of adventure to the beautiful but illiterate daughter of a local tailor, falling in love with her, of course. Who will the beauty give preference to and will she decide to change her life?

Original title:
Xiao cai feng

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, biography

Actors:
Zhou Xun, Liu Ye, Chen Kun…

Country:
France, China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Spring Metro (2002)

Seven years ago, He and She came to Beijing. The conquest of the capital went with varying degrees of success, as did the relationship of the young couple. Over time, the passion faded, and the characters began to pay attention to other men and women. Lost in the modern metropolis, the characters of the melodrama merge with the crowd in search of kindred spirits, but remain just as lonely. Perhaps it’s time to open up your true feelings to a longtime partner, causing a counter frankness?

Original title:
Kai wang chun tian de di tie

Genre:
Drama, melodrama

Actors:
Xu Jinglei, Geng Le, Zhang Yang…

Country:
China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 6.9

Age limit:
16+


In the Mood for Love (2000)

A masterpiece of arthouse cinema from the triumphant of many film festivals – the experimenter Wong Kar-Wai, which has the highest rating among his films and is available with Russian dubbing. In 1960s Hong Kong, a man and a woman live next door. Since their other halves are constantly absent, Chow and Su brighten up their loneliness by talking to each other. According to some signs, the heroes learn about the infidelity of the spouses, but will they decide to follow the example of the traitors and start a real, not an imaginary romance?

Original title:
Faa yeung nin wa

Genre:
Drama, melodrama

Actors:
Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chu Wai, Ping Lam Siu …

Country:
Hong Kong

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 8.1

Age restrictions:
18+


Farewell My Concubine (1992)

One of the most titled Chinese films translated into Russian, awarded the Palme d’Or at Cannes and the Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for the best non-English language film. Peking Opera actors Chen Deyi and Duan Xiaolu met as boys and carried their friendship through the historical dramas and vicissitudes of the 20th century. Since women are played by men in the Peking Opera, the pretty Chen was doomed to the role of a concubine, at the cost of his life remaining faithful to the emperor performed by the brutal Duan, which was a reflection of real events.

Original title:
Ba wang bie ji

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, music

Actors:
Leslie Cheung, Zhang Fengyi, Gong Li …

Country:
Hong Kong, China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 8.1

Age restrictions:
18+


Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

After studying for six months at the university, in the 1920s, due to the death of her father, young Sunlian was forced to drop out of school and become the fourth wife of an elderly, wealthy Chinese man. A stormy student life is replaced by sleepy everyday life and intrigues of the first three wives, dissatisfied with the appearance of a young and educated competitor in their well-established female world. Each strives to be chosen as a husband for nightly pleasures, to proudly light a red lantern on her doorstep and wipe her rivals’ noses. Will Sunlian accept such a sad fate?

Original title:
Da hong deng long gao gao gua

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, history

Actors:
Gong Li, He Caifei, Ma Jingwu…

Country:
China, Hong Kong, Taiwan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.8, IMDb – 8.1


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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