What Women Want (Chinese Film)

Original Title: 我知女人心
Alternate English Title: I Know a Woman’s Heart
Release date: February 3, 2011
Director: Daming Chen
Original screenplay by: Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, Diane Drake
Screenplay by: Daming Chen
Cast: Gong Li, Andy Lau, Russell Wong, Osric Chau, Kelly Hu

Remake of the American romantic comedy What Women Want by Nancy Meyers, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, I Know a Woman’s Heart (to avoid confusions) puts Chinese superstars Andy Lau and Gong Li in the title roles.

It has been years since I’ve seen a repeat of the American rom-com, so the details are a bit murky. However, it does feel like I Know a Woman’s Heart does some things better and others not so much.

The film tells the story of marketing hotshot Zi Gang Sun (Lau), an over the top ladies’ man who can get any woman by sweet talking and acting smug, and in the process deteriorates his relationship with his own daughter. One day, when the position of a new Creative Director opens, he meets Yi Long Li (Gong) and loses the job to her… in a fated night, he gets electrocuted, and starts hearing women’s thoughts.

Sounds familiar? Yes, I Know a Woman’s Heart is almost a exact copy of What Women Want, except for a few details. This Chinese remake is a super glossy version with high class and high-end gadgets, work environments, and leisurely places. The product placement is quite… blatant at times. Sometimes the movie felt more like a music video.

The few good things about this, however, seems to be Gong Li and Andy Lau’s on-screen chemistry. They play each other well, and their attraction is better developed. There’s no odd crotch-viewing scenes in which Gong feels uncomfortable, in fact, her character seems to be a Creative Director first. Her guarding of her job against Lau’s obnoxious behavior is more believable.

Lau’s character also gets a few changes that make him more than just a ladies’ man. He tells it like it is, and tells everyone that he’s out to get not Li’s job, but get her out of there. His dislike towards her is stronger than Gibson’s version. Sun also gets a father figure that gives him a background, and a way to fix things.

I Know a Woman’s Heart focuses more on the relationship between Li and Sun, while also allowing his character to re-establish his relation with his father and his daughter. However, it does lose most of the laughs… making it rather boring. The film is marketed as a romantic comedy, when it actually feels a little bit more like a light drama.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Ghost Writer

Here. There. Everywhere. Punished soul that usually watches what nobody wants, but sometimes gets lucky.

9 Responses

  1. Castor says:

    I quite enjoyed What Women Want back in the days. I might give this a try once it’s available for a rent ;)

  2. ghost says:

    @Castor, both are the same… but different. Like I said, I Know a Woman’s Heart is not funny. It loses the Bette Midler character, it reduces the character that Marisa Tomei played, and… pretty sure it plays down the interaction between the Gibson/Greer link.

    But… you know, you have Gong Li and Andy Lau.

    Have no idea if there are plans for a DVD release in America, even if the film did have a limited release there. The Hong Kong version of the DVD, however, comes with English subtitles. Maybe you can find it at your local Chinatown (coz every place has a Chinatown, right?).

    • amy says:

      @ghost,

      I’m pretty sure there’s a Chinatown in most major cities. I think my aunt visits Chinatown anywhere she goes. I think I’ve done that too… I don’t know what it is about Chinese people and visiting around the world Chinatowns.

  1. August 19, 2014

    […] command the screen — one of them is Gong Li, who even against a mega star like Andy Lau in What Women Want can hold her own spotlight. I think much of Tang’s career has suffered from the ban that […]

  2. October 13, 2014

    […] in one of the most complex scenes during the whole film, worthy of a true Chinese version of What Women Want, XiaoXian’s life completely falls apart. Thus, beginning the count of days being […]

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