A straight-arrow yarn about a childless couple reunited by a young kid, “The Summer in Nanjing” occasionally tips into melodrama but largely hews to a simple, unaffected style that allows the main performances to gently ripen. Though the first name among the two co-directors is experienced journeyman Jin Liangyuan, the main creative force is that of actor Yu Junhao (“Night Raid”), who adapted his own novel, takes the lead role and even line produced. Youth fests could warm to this one.
Yu plays He Nanjing, a coach driver in Nanjing whose marriage is under strain as he and his wife, primary school teacher Wei Li (Sun Qing), are still childless after seven years of marriage. She suggests they amicably divorce, and even moves out. Then, one day, he ends up helping to look after a young boy, Tongtong (Zhang Zhikang), after the tyke’s single mom (Jin Yuqian) is arrested in his coach for carrying drugs. Direction and lensing show an unforced feel for quotidian life in the heat of summertime Nanjing, and relationships, too. Yu is rather wooden, but Sun is simpatico as the wife.