Known for its accessibility, humor, and charm, Flowers as Matchmakers 花为媒 is often considered the best film adapted from Chinese operas. It ranks in the top 20 of all mainland films on audience review site Douban, and it’s apparent from start why the film is so highly praised.
The script by Cheng Zhaocai and Wu Zuguang packs the story with humor, catchy lines, and updated values to make the story fit for a modern audience. The brilliant performances by its stars, most notably its prima donna Xin Fengxia and comedic actress Zhao Lirong, fills the film with joy. Ping opera pronunciation is almost identical to standard Mandarin, so it’s a lot easier to enjoy than other opera types for most Mandarin speakers. And you’re going to want to sing-along because the songs are very, very catchy.
When the charming Zhang Wuke (Xin Fengxia) is rejected in marriage by the wealthy Wang Junqing, she goes to meet him to change his mind. However, Wang Junqing’s heart is already promised to Li Yu’e (Li Yilan). To save the potential match, his cousin Jia Junying goes in his place to meet Zhang Wuke. Tricked into thinking Jia Junying is Wang Junqing, Zhang Wuke agrees to marry him.
Meanwhile, Li Yu’e takes things into her own hands and shows up as Zhang Wuke for the wedding. When the two women meet at the wedding, they are immediately stricken by each other’s beauty and grace and team up to find out what’s up.