Dying to Survive Review 🎬 Is the Film a True Story?

Dying to Survive Review 🎬 Is It Worth The Watch?

我病了三年,四万块钱一瓶的正版药,我吃了三年,房子吃没了,家人被我吃垮了
wǒ bìngle sān nián, sì wàn kuài qián yī píng de zhèngbǎn yào, wǒ chīle sān nián, fángzi chī méile, jiārén bèi wǒ chī kuǎle
I’ve been sick for 3 years. The proper medicine costs 40,000 kuai a bottle and I’ve been using them for 3 years. As a result, my house is gone and my family is collapsing.

Above is a line from a film that we are going to talk about today…

Dying to Survive. The Chinese name for the film is 我不是药神 wǒ búshì yàoshén which means I am not a Medicine God.

It is a film released on 2018 based on the real story of Lu Yong 陆勇 lù yǒng, a “nobody” living in China.

Dying to Survive Trailer

Since the film was released it has made more than 3 billion CNY at the Chinese box office and has really high reviews on Chinese streaming platforms, such as Youku where it scores 9.6 out of 10.

What makes it a successful film?

Have a watch and leave us a comment below to let us know what you think!

Dying to Survive Review : Plot

Dying to Survive Review : Cast

Dying to Survive Review : Related Vocabulary

Dying to Survive Review : Watch Online with English Subtitles

Dying to Survive Review : Lu Yong

Dying to Survive Review : FAQ’s

Dying to Survive Review : Plot

A middle aged man named Cheng Yong 程勇 chéng yǒng who sells health care products for a living is divorced because of domestic violence.

His father is in dangerous ill health and needs a lot of money for his care which he definitely can’t afford.

His ex-wife wants their son, who he has a very close relationship with, to emigrate with her and be far away from Cheng Yong.

What’s worse, Cheng can’t pay the rent for his shop so the landlord locks it up.

Under this immense pressure, he decides to take a risk, smuggling a copycat medicine called Glinic from India into China.

On his journey selling this medicine to heal CML (Chronic Myelogenous Leukaemia) patients, he meets several people and they form a team together.

The film is mainly about how these small “nobodies” live and struggle with CML.

You will see vivid personalities with every single person.

Watching the film is a good chance for you to practice your Chinese as well as knowing a little bit about Chinese ordinary people’s life.

You will hear some Shanghainese in the film and one Shanghainese swear word – Nasty 小赤佬 xiǎo chìlǎo
Learn more about Shanghainese swear words below from our YouTube video.

Shanghainese Swear Words

PSST – if Shanghainese is something that interests you (trust us, we love it), we actually teach it at our Shanghai school, or even Online)!

Dying to Survive Review : Cast

Xu Zheng 徐峥 xúzhēng – plays the role of Cheng Yong 程勇 chéng yǒng.

He is also the Executive Producer of Dying to Survive.

He won a lot of awards because of this role such as the best actor at the 55th Golden Horse Awards.

At first Cheng Yong simply wants to earn money by selling counterfeit medicine. Nothing else matters.

During the process of doing this, he just finds that maybe he can really help people and even win people’s respect which he has never done before.

His human nature is awakened especially after one of his friends dies of CML.

Dying to Survive Cast
Dying to Survive Cast

He then starts to sell the medicine without making a profit and eventually he has to smuggle the medicine in at a higher price but still sells it at a low price.

However, he is of course violating the law and is finally arrested.

He believes that he is not a bad guy.

There are so many roles attributed to Xu Zheng – actor, director, screenwriter, Executive Producer. As one of China’s comedy giants, he is well-known and loved by his fans. He was placed 4th on the 2019 Forbes China Celebrity List and placed 2nd on 2020 Forbes China Celebrity List.

Besides Xu Zheng, you will also get to see great acting from Wang Chuanjun, Zhou Yiwei, Tan Zhuo, Yang Xinming, Zhang Yu, and Wang Yanhui in their supporting roles.

Dying to Survive Review : Related Vocab

Here is a list of vocabulary in the film you may found useful when talking about medicine.

  • 保健品 ǎojiàn pǐn – Health care products
  • 走私 zǒusī – Smuggling
  • 正版药 zhèngbǎn yào – Genuine Medecine
  • 医药代表 yīyào dàibiǎo – Medical representative
  • 抗癌药 kàng ái yào – Anti-cancer drug
  • 药厂 yào chǎng – Pharmaceutical factory
  • 假药 jiǎ yào – Counterfeit drug
  • 医疗手册 yīliáo shǒucè – Medical manual
  • 慢粒白血病 màn lì báixuè bìng – CML (chronic myelogenous leukaemia)
  • 假药贩子 jiǎ yào fànzi – Fake drug dealer
  • 白血病人 bái xuè bìng rén – CML patient
  • 便宜药 piányì yào – Affordable medicine
  • 仿制药 fǎng zhìyào – Copycat drug
  • 天价药 tiānjià yào – Ultra-high-priced drug
  • 违禁药 wéijìn yào – Illicit medicine
  • 医保 yībǎo – Health insurance

Not enough vocab?

Check our previous blog to find a medicine related TV show.

Is Traditional Chinese Medicine Real? Watch Da Zhai Men 大宅门 To Find Out Thumbnail

Is Traditional Chinese Medicine Real? Watch Da Zhai Men 大宅门 To Find Out

Da Zhai Men 大宅门 is a TV show starts during the Qing dynasty, when Emperor Guangxu is six years old (the 1880s). Find out what you can learn here.

Dying to Survive: Where To Watch Online?

By searching the name 我不是药神 wǒ búshì yàoshén you can watch it online with English subtitles on most Chinese streaming platforms such as:

  • Youku
  • Tencent video
  • iQiyi (with 20CNY for a month VIP membership)

Dying to Survive Review : Lu Yong

At the end of the movie you will see a Chinese sentence

本片根据陆勇真实故事改编
běn piān gēnjù lù yǒng zhēnshí gùshì gǎibiān
The film is based on Lu Yong’s true story

Lu Yong showed up to the premiere of Dying to Survive together with Xu Zheng (who plays the role of Cheng Yong in the film).

He said that he was a bit angry when he first watched the movie.

He thinks that the character in the movie is not really an accurate portrayal of him.

He said that as a CML patient himself, he never wanted to earn money from these CML patients, he just wanted to help them.

He doesn’t think he did any thing wrong when being interviewed.

Lu hopes that this film will make a big difference in helping more CML patients.

Already progress has been made with medicinal treatment for CML. That shows the positive influence that Lu Yong and Dying to Survive have had.

Dying to Survive : FAQ’s

Is Dying to Survive based on a true story?

Yes, this film is adapted from the real life story of Lu Yong 陆勇 lù yǒng.

Can I watch Dying to Survive on Netflix?

Dying to Survive isn’t currently available on Netflix.

You can go to YouTube to search for the Chinese name and watch it for free.

What’s the Chinese name of Dying to Survive?

It is called 我不是药神 wǒ búshì yàoshén in Chinese, which literally means “I am not a Medicine God”.

Did Dying to Survive win any awards?

Yes, it won a lot of awards such as:

Best Original Screenplay

Best Actor

Best new director

These awards were all at the 55th Golden Horse Awards.

What is CML?

It is short for Chronic Myelocytic Leukaemia and in Chinese it’s called 慢粒白血病 màn lì bái xuè bìng.

Edited by Katie Coy and Max Hobbs

Want more from LTL?

If you wish to hear more from LTL Mandarin School why not join our mailing list.

We give plenty of handy information on learning Chinese, useful apps to learn the language and everything going on at our LTL schools!

Sign up below and become part of our ever growing community!

Ask us a question!
  • LTL Avatar Irene Magnosi
    Irene Magnosi , Student Advisor

    Welcome to LTL Language School!

    How can I help you?