Animation Comedy

'Have a Nice Day' Reel Asian 2017 Review: An entertaining glimpse into the bleak lives of odd characters

November 18, 2017Sherry Li

A Chinese animated gangster movie from director Jian Lu, Have a Nice Day follows a bag of money that is stolen from a gangster, which connects a bunch of unique characters as they try to chase it down for themselves.

The story is nothing exceptional, but it's a great glimpse into the bleak lives of these odd characters, who don't feel outlandish in the setting of downtrodden Southern China. All of them are entertaining and unique, and their motivations for the money feel small — just like everything else in the film. Yet, the characters are still relatable, and though they all seem like somewhat questionable people, you can't help but root them on anyways. It feels a lot like the real China, and as a piece of independent filmmaking from the country, what it represents is great.

The animation style takes time to get used to, as it's not always smooth and at times only small movements make it obvious that the images aren't static. Everything in the movie, though, from the color scheme to the characters, evokes a sense of desolation and gloom. The result is gritty, just like China actually is outside of the major cities.

Have a Nice Day is receiving its Toronto premiere at Reel Asian 2017.

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