Hong Kong television drama veteran Gary Tang makes his feature debut with Healing Hearts, essentially a theatrical pilot for the series it launched. Tang, who has been prominent in defining the hospital drama on local television, juggles an impressive lineup of stars in supporting roles, but the narrative is firmly focused on the relationship between Tony Leung's brain surgeon and Michelle Reis' coma patient whose roles are reversed when she moves into his apartment.
After his girlfriend Tse Yuen-han is the victim in a hit-and-run car accident, brain surgeon Lawrence Ching is unable to save her life. He spends his evenings alone in their unfinished apartment, and lets his glass-half-full worldview infect his work. His colleague - and sometimes fishing partner - Paul Fong, has a more optimistic worldview that Lawrence no longer understands, particularly the hours he spends talking with his "girlfriend", coma patient Jackie Kong. But when Jackie wakes up while Lawrence is hiding in her room, she's only interested in Paul as her doctor, setting her romantic sights on Lawrence.
Released two months after Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fai's Help!!!, Tang's less frenetic take on Hong Kong's medical scene overtook it at the box office with a US$2m gross. Tang takes on all the ethical dilemmas one expects in the genre: is honesty the best policy with patients, should one cover up one's colleagues' mistakes, and are all patients equal when there's only one bed available in intensive care. Tang livens up proceedings with car chases, a fiery bank robbery and a Chungking Express-style makeover of Lawrence's apartment.