Happy Times: Simple Tale from Yimou

In the city of Dalian, an old and laid-off factory worker (Zhao Benshan) seeks to marry an obese and divorced middle-aged woman (Dong Lifan), who he hopes will bring him warmth and comfort.

He sets out desperately to find a way to make money for the rich wedding he has promised . The hapless man and his friend (Fu Biao) decide to renovate a broken bus on top of a hill that is popular for romantic couples. He turns this bus into a small dwelling named “Happy Times Hotel,” which he plans to rent to couples visiting the hill.

As he brags about his newly opened “hotel” and how much money he is making, he finds himself entrusted with the care of the woman’s emaciated, blind stepdaughter Wu Ying (Dong Jie), who is unwanted in the house. Not willing to expose his scheme and ruin his attempt to get married, the man enlists the help of his retired co-workers, who do all they can to make the lonely girl happy at her new job as a masseuse in the “hotel.”

As the story unfolds, a touching friendship develops between the childless man and the dejected, orphaned girl under his care, leading to a moving and surprising conclusion.