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Nicky Wu and Zuo Xiao-Qing do some traveling in Ticket..
Chinese: 車票  
Year: 2008  
Director: Jacob Cheung Chi-Leung
  Writer: 李家同
Cast: Zuo Xiao-Qing, Nicky Wu, Cecilia Yip Tung, Fan Wei, Liu Sitong, Chin Siu-Ho, Wu Ma
The Skinny: Pleasant but not crucial, Ticket is an agreeable film about parenthood that will likely please audiences looking for a little positive reinforcement. And if the subject matter doesn't grab you, the scenery alone is probably worth the price of admission.
by Kozo:
If you can't make a sightseeing tour to rural China, then Ticket may be the next best thing. Based on a collection of short stories originally set in Taiwan, Ticket tells the story of Zeng Yu-Tong (Zuo Xiao-Qing), a young reporter whose foster mother, Catholic nun Tsang (Cecilia Yip), raised her after she was abandoned at the nunnery as an infant. When Tsang takes sick, she asks Yu-Tong to fulfill her dying wish: she wants Yu-Tong to find and meet her original birth mother. She also gives Yu-Tong a long-hidden gift: train tickets found when she was initially abandoned. Presumably, following the tickets will lead Yu-Tong back to where her parents came from, though first the question must be asked: does she want to find them?

Showing obvious resentment lingering from her abandonment, Yu-Tong claims that she doesn't need to find her real mother. However, after some gentle prodding from Tsang, she changes her mind and soon embarks on a road trip with handsome childhood friend Zhi-Xuan (Nicky Wu) in tow. The journey takes them from Yunnan to Tibet to other picturesque areas, as they make a few wrong turns while also stopping to argue or admire the gorgeous scenery. Along the way, Yu-Tong continues to question her journey, flipping back and forth between a need to find her parents and fear at the possible truth behind her abandonment. What if she wasn't abandoned due to China's one-child policy? What if the truth is that her mother simply didn't want her?

As Yu-Tong, Zuo Xiao-Qing possesses clean, pretty looks, but the actress doesn't quite summon the emotion or personality needed to make the character truly compelling. Her issues are handed out mostly in dialogue, but there are related characters and events that support the film's themes. Ticket opens with Yu-Tong reporting the birth of a child with a heart disease, and how the parents (Liu Si-Tong and Chin Siu-Ho) are willing to carry the child to term even though the actual chance of survival is slim. Yu-Tong openly questions why the parents don't just opt for the abortion, obviously injecting some of her rueful personal feelings into the conflict. However, her feelings never register that strongly with the audience, making Yu-Tong rather unidentifiable, especially in the film's early going.

Thankfully, director Jacob Cheung manages to close the gap caused by his somewhat distant leading lady. Cheung makes some good decisions with Ticket, and chooses a lighter approach to his sentimental subject matter than some directors might have opted for. Some of his decisions are superficial, but smart; the film is carried in many places by its fine cinematography, wonderful scenery and very enjoyable music. At the same time, the themes and emotions presented are quite pleasant, and should strike a chord with the intended audience. The film's opening is a little flat-footed, their journey is remarkably low tension and the minor conflicts that erupt are not really felt. However, when Yu-Tong finally finds the truth about her mother, everything seems to fall into place. The filmmakers elicit the proper emotions and manage to earn the expected sentimentality.

There's also a third plotline in the film, involving a Mainland taxi driver (Fan Wei) who's always in the company of his autistic young son. The driver crosses paths with Yu-Tong twice, once in the hospital at the film's opening, and again when he ferries her in his taxi. He shows up again in the film's final reel, when he loses his son on the train and must race to the next stop to get him. That event is rendered in the same low-tension manner as the rest of the film's conflicts, and also serves to reinforce the film's positive depiction of parenthood. Cheung pushes upbeat, positive emotions, with little qualifying as truly challengeing or dramatic. However, the emotions conjured are relaxing, pleasant and ultimately quite agreeable. Ticket is a feel-good movie about the choices faced by parents, and a film that's ultimately hard to dislike. (Kozo, Reviewed at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, 2008)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Kam & Ronson
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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images courtesy of Sundream Motion Pictures Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen