Hearts Motive (2023) poster
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 12 users
# of Watchers: 81
Reviews: 1 user
Ranked #83679
Popularity #99999
Watchers 12

Lawyer Ding Yi Feng is banned by the entire industry for exposing the shady business of his own law firm. By chance, he re-emerged and turned a losing lawsuit into innocence, and fame and fortune followed. But the truth of the case is far from being as simple as it seems. Between justice and fame and fortune, he must make another choice. (Source: Chinese = Douban || Translation = MyDramaList) Edit Translation

  • English
  • 中文(简体)
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • עברית / עִבְרִית
  • Country: China
  • Type: Movie
  • Release Date: Aug 18, 2023
  • Duration: 1 hr. 52 min.
  • Score: 7.4 (scored by 12 users)
  • Ranked: #83679
  • Popularity: #99999
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated

Cast & Credits


Hearts Motive (2023) photo
Hearts Motive (2023) photo
Hearts Motive (2023) photo
Hearts Motive (2023) photo
Hearts Motive (2023) photo
Hearts Motive (2023) photo


0 people found this review helpful
Dec 15, 2023
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 7.0

Truth is in the eye of the beholder

It could be compared a bit to Better Call Saul, as both of these shows portray struggling lawyers, sometimes bending the law, and being morally gray. The main character is an attorney at law portrayed by Huang Xiaoming. He’s freaking cool, cunning, a bit noir. I’d love to see him more on screen. Unlike (or like) Jimmy from BCS he definitely has the heart on the right side, but he’s just too hasty, negligent and blinded by his desire for success. He regrets playing a hero, as in the past he exposed the law firm he worked at, which kinda gets him blacklisted from the lawyers’ world. But then he gets a second chance at life as an attorney, and he wants to succeed this time.

The movie only focuses on one murder case, which is a shame, because I’d love to see this guy in action more. During the course of the trial we are confronted with different facts regarding the case and every piece of evidence sheds further light on the whole thing. We can see the battle of minds between the prosecutor and the attorney. It’s the classic trope of “an easy case” at first glance, but then as we dig deeper it becomes more and more complicated. As a viewer I must say it was a very intriguing course of action and I watched it all in one sitting. Our main character finds himself in the middle of all this drama trying to glue all the pieces of the puzzle together. I think his motivations are two-fold: he genuinely wants to save his defendant from death penalty, but it’s his first case after a long break as an attorney and he’s greedy, wanting to win this case at all cost, even by twisting the truth itself, which becomes his undoing. The first trial and then the second trial kinda show that the truth and the public perception can be malleable, because they both ended with different conclusions. If it weren’t for the main character’s change of heart the ending would be different.

I think the movie doesn’t do a good job criticizing the prosecutor enough. It’s a cliche at this point in so many Asian and non-Asian legal dramas, where the prosecution just goes for an easy win, without even a perfunctory look into the case, which leaves room for the attorney to step in and destroy their arguments easily. Like… imagine if the prosecutor actually checked the facts before going to the trial? Then the movie would end in 10 minutes without any unnecessary drama. Okay, so the person in question confessed, and you didn’t even check their background and stuff to see if what they say is true? I get that prosecutors want to win, but how about prosecute someone, when you’re sure their guilty. Even if their guilty, you should know the facts, so that the attorney doesn’t point out flaws in your logic and manipulate the court to their advantage. Or maybe it’s the system that’s wrong, I don’t know. You tell me that one broke attorney can do a whole investigation by himself and you with your team can’t? (ok it was quite a coincidence that he met the defendant’s son, who’s a key part of the puzzle, when the son saw the lawyers face in a magazine, but such information could be also accessed through the defendant’s other connections I think, right?). And then she (the prosecutor) even lectures the attorney, that he should follow his heart or something?

Technologically I’d say it’s a very good movie. I’m not an expert on cameras and stuff, but the use of lighting was superb. Every scene had a fitting light environment, it was shot very professionally. Audio was also good, the dialogues were crisp and audible (which doesn’t happen in every movie or TV series nowadays, so I need to applaud that) , there was one original song, very nice.

The characters were alright, but maybe too stiff and with no chemistry between them. The main character and his sidekick intern looked like they could develop some nice comedic chemistry, but none of the relationships between characters were developed fully. Some of the acting in the scenes between them was not that great, as if they only said the memorized lines of dialogue, but in the large scheme of things it didn’t hinder the viewing experience, so I don’t complain. The only relationship that had some progress was that between the main character and his mother, but it also wasn’t fully explored, with the subplot about them being cut short. The defendant and the victim’s relation is interesting and the viewer’s perspective on them changes as the plot progresses. I really liked these two.
Also one character has a burned face, and when we expect the plot to be subversive and be like “he’s actually nice, but wronged by life”, then it turns out he’s an a**hole. Ugly = bad, amirite?

It feels like an episode from a longer series, even though it’s a standalone movie. Maybe they planned to shoot more and only managed to shoot the middle part, because some plot threads are still unresolved in the end, and many others still could be expanded. But seeing how the movie was released a whole two years after shooting, maybe there were some problems along the way. A sequel or a prequel would be nice.

I really think this would work better as a series instead of a movie. The main character is charismatic enough to carry a whole series, so having him confined to such a short screen time is a shame. He had worked for 8 years as a debt collector often using legally dubious tactics. That would be a nice material for a badass prequel. Generally it’s not that deep, even though it touches upon moral questions, and has a morally gray main character. But it’s a fun watch with some battle-of-wits style court trials, so I’d say I recommend it. Would be nice to see more of this character on the screen.

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  • Movie: Hearts Motive
  • Country: China
  • Release Date: Aug 18, 2023
  • Duration: 1 hr. 52 min.
  • Content Rating: Not Yet Rated


  • Score: 7.4 (scored by 12 users)
  • Ranked: #83679
  • Popularity: #99999
  • Watchers: 81

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