A solitary red balloon hovers over a street and a young boy talks to it, cajoling it to come with him. This is the initial scene in Hsiao-hsien Hou first non-Taiwanese film. We are soon introduced to Simon's mother, Suzzane (Juliette Binoche), a puppeteer vocalist who has her hands full with work, being a single mom and pesky neighbors. Then there is Song (Fang Song), Simon's babysitter who has a calming effect on the scenario. We spend most of the next couple of idyllic hours with these characters and their daily lives while the solitary balloon floats. A movie that left me neither enthralled nor discontented.
Rating: * *