As the political tides turn and social change washes over the culture time and again, an altruistic primary school teacher in the provinces does his best to go about his business and always be there for his students. Chen Yu (Tony Leung Ka-fai) is a kindly, accordion-playing educator who, after being back in China for six years, is sent to teach at a rural Hubei school in the summer of 1963 due to a political transgression committed by his family. The easygoing teacher immediately clashes with the strict head of the school and gets chastised by fellow teacher Zhou Min (Qin Hailu) for his lack of political correctness, and is promptly sent away for "reform" after folding sex education into his lessons. Five years later, the Cultural Revolution is in full swing, and Chen is working on a farm. After a chance reunion with Zhou, the pair becomes romantically involved and soon settles down to start a family. Sixteen years later, the happily married couple is struggling to break through to their rebellious teenage son Taotao (Zhang Xiaodao) and Chen has gone back to teaching. Later, Taotao runs away to Beijing, leaving his saddened parents to wonder just where it all went wrong.
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