A nine-times winner at the 1997 Hong Kong Film Awards, Chan's film charts the lives of two immigrants to Hong Kong from Mainland China across ten years. Li Xiaojun (Lai) is a naive and gullible northerner with a fiancée back home in Tianjin; Li Chiao (Cheung) is a street-smart southerner from Guangzhou who wants no emotional attachments in her life until she hooks up with a triad boss (Tsang). Both of them receive extended sentimental educations, sometimes together, more often apart. Very well played, the central near-romance serves as a barometer of the social and economic changes in Hong Kong since the mid-1980s. The supporting characters and subplots are far less interesting and credible; a dotty old brothel madam with a thing for William Holden (!) is especially wearisome.
Cast and crew