Ling Ai (Wang Jiajia) is a ballet dancer and yoga instructor living in Beijing after moving from a small rural town. She rents a room in a crowded home, finding herself next door to He Jiang (Zhang Yi), a hockey coach with as much ambition as Ling Ai. The two eventually begin a very sweet relationship, but as the two become closer He Jiang realizes what Ling Ai is avoiding back in her rural village. A strained relationship between Ling Ai and her father starts to loom over her new relationship with He Jiang, and the different ways of life between generations threaten everything that Ling Ai has become accustomed to.
Director He Ping does an amazing job of blending different generations’ views on life, love and family in The Promised Land. He also does a remarkable job of creating a very sweet romance between Ling Ai and He Jiang. With equal touches of romantic comedy and family drama, the film offers a look at problems people face around the world while still focusing on very unique cultural problems in China.
The end result is a story that will touch viewers regardless of their background. We all must deal with moving forward in our own lives while simultaneously trying to be respectful of what our parents may want for us. It’s a difficult balance, and it’s portrayed wonderfully within The Promised Land.