Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are polite and formal-until a discovery about their respective spouses sparks an intimate bond. At once delicat... more »ely mannered and visually stunning, Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments in time.« less
"Perfection in cinema is an almost impossible goal to achieve. Mostly because spectators have varying taste and perspectives. But you can't help but feel that Wong Kar-Wai's "In the Mood for Love" is anything short of perfection. The imagery with its lush colors and breathtaking movements is enough to elevate this film. The simple, yet somewhat complicated tale is both heartfelt and authentic. And the performances by Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung are a marvel. But it's none of these that really makes this film, it's rather the manner that Kar-Wai so magically molds all these factors to set a mood that I have never felt before while watching a movie. In all honesty, I'm really not too fond of "forbidden love" movies, but this film really startled me.Ironically, "In the Mood for Love" feels nothing like a Wong Kar-Wai film. It's a very slow moving film which uses lots of fades and dissolves. The Criterion edition of this film is probably the best dvd package I've seen to date. There are just so many extras on it, it's hard to believe. Deleted scenes, interviews, and promotional material, are just a few of the extras. The way Kar-Wai shoots his films (without a script) also adds to the suprise of picture. You see in the extras how much different the original concept was for "In the Mood for Love." There is also an alternate ending that seems very plain, but at the same time very heartbreaking."
Minimalist and Nostalgia
Matthew M. Yau | San Francisco, CA | 03/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the Mood for Love is such a charm despite a very simple plot. The year was 1962. Chow Mo Wan, a newspaper editor, recently moved into a dwelling populated by Shanghai immigrants with his wife. Through casual and accidental encounters Chow exchanged pleasantry with So Lai Jun (Mrs. Chan) who later found out about her husband's affair with Chow's wife. Heartbroken and devastated of the cruel truth, Chow buried himself in his job while So indulged in nightly movie screening. They began to let down the guard for one another and spent time during the mahjong sessions of their landlords. The characters forced themselves to abide by inveterate conventions and cultural morale that forbid an affair to become fruition. ...Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung as usual deliver an impeccable performance in this 2001 Wong Kar-Wai release. Leung portraited a man who is unsatisfied about his marriage and denied his spouse's infidelity. Cheung seizes the empathy of her character who is accustomed to hush about reason for his husband's frequent absence. Maggie Cheung is elegant and charming in this movie. Not to mention the dazzling wardrobe she wears consistently over the entire movie. Her leg movements are captured in slow motion. Her arms dangling with the thermos meant for the late-night porridge order-to-go from the street vendor.The movie is shot through a minimalist scope, that is, message is conveyed through very succinct scripts and imagery full of lush colors and meticulously chosen soundtracks. The film is shot in a very stealthy manner; it is as if a pin camera being fastened on the wall of the apartment. Conversations between Leung and Cheung are shot in an eavesdropping manner. The director seeks to de-emphasize other characters in order to focus on Leung and Cheung. Their spouse, respectively, always have their back facing the camera. Their performances are conducted by voices. The gaffer has done an excellent job adjusting the hues of light which is relatively dim throughout. As a native of Hong Kong (born in mid-70s) who never witnessed the city in glory 60s, In the Move for Love has done me a favor in reminiscence. Wong Kar Wai makes sure everything is done just like when it was the 60s. Yes, even the restaurant menu to which Leung and Cheung skimmed through briefly. It was a green piece of cardboard decorated with some coconut tree clip art. Menu with such heavy Malaysian touch can still be found at local cafés that serve a fusion menu of Malaysian spices and sirloin steaks. Napkins are folded diamond-shaped like paper planes and kept at the far end of the booth. Leung and Cheung sip coffee from flimsy green chinaware cups that hold maybe three gulps. The green vinyl blinds hang unevenly at the office windows. The rotary phone. The subleased rooms where newly-wed couples rent and the kitchen with whom they share with their landlords. The white-collared wardrobe worn by housemaids. These are all the epitomes of lives in the 60s, in Hong Kong. Some find this mmovie a little slow-paced. I savor the manner in which the film is made. I savor all the details, the choice of colors and the tiptoeing scores in the film. 4.6 stars..."
G.S. | South Australia | 11/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tony Leung is a journalist in Hong Kong, who rents a room with his wife in a family apartment. Next door, Maggie Cheung has done the same thing with her husband, who is almost always away on business.As part of Kar-wai's game plan, neither the wife, nor the husband, is seen. They exist and are talked about, but never introduced.Both Leung and Cheung's characters are painfully polite, which means you don't know what they're thinking. Even when it becomes obvious that their other halves are having an affair, it takes ages for either of them to respond. The idea of an emotional outburst would be unthinkable. The film is so subtle and slow and internalized that it crystallizes into a thing of beauty. Longing has been choked by a thousand years of acceptable behavior. The cut of Cheung's dresses and the sheen of Leung's hair take on an unexpected importance in what appears to be Kar-wai's experiment into the purity of unconsummated passion.By now this one is the most beautiful movie I had ever seen.
Every shot is like a poem. Each picture is a work of art.
I couldn't help myself from repeating the scenes again and again just to make sure i hadn't miss a thing.A masterpiece."
Best movie of the year
sunkelly | 02/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's only a shame that this wasn't released several months ago in the U.S. as it was in the U.K. or else it would have been nominated for some major awards. It's actually really hard to fault anything in this movie: the acting, directing, music and cinematography are all world-class.The story centers around a woman and a man who live next to each other in a Hong Kong apartment complex in 1962. They both suspect their spouses of having an affair with each other, and begin to fall in love themselves. Being in such tight surroundings they obviously cannot show very much affection to each other in public and rely on subtle glances and very little actual physical contact: it is a testimony to the superb acting skills of the two main leads, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, that the relationship is believable. The director Wong Kar-Wai is also brilliant at mixing in slow-motion shots (perhaps to emphasize how slowly their relationship develops) and Spanish music, which fits the mood of the movie amazingly well.To add to the atmosphere, the movie is almost completely shot indoors except for some shots outside at night and in the rain and the haunting last scene. You really get a sense of clautrophobia after a while, not only of the living space but how confined the characters' marriages and even lives are as well. Futhermore, the movie also has a political overtone which is, like everything else here, subtle, but suffice to say its setting in 1962 is not accidental.Finally, the lack of a huge amount of dialogue means that those who don't like subtitles won't have to suffer through so many. For those of you like me who were disappointed with most of the junk nominated for Academy Awards this year, finally here's a movie that lives up to its reputation."
A Breathe Taking Masterpiece
sunkelly | Seattle, WA United States | 05/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For all of you who are mystified with sensual, sensitive, delicate yet stunning beauty of Asian movies, this movie is all that you have been waiting for. Unknown to many, this movie came out at the same time as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and it was MUCH more appreaciated than CTHD in majority in Asia, in term of acting, cinematography and story. The actors are well recognized by their work, Tony Leung won the Cannes Best Actor award for this piece, Maggie Cheung, who holds a large collection of european and asian awards for extradinary acting skills, was crowned the queen of Hong Kong Film Festive for the 5th time this year for her role. A word for those of you who enjoyed action movies, this movie does not have any flying fists or alike. Yet, it is a movie which emits a deep feeling of nolstagia, and it will remind you of the bits and pieces of the "lost sentiments" in your life. The cinematography is so stunning and every little detail is so delicately brushed up, you feel as if you can even smell the scent from the redwood furnitures. The movie is visually breathetaking, in fact, the Chinese dresses wore by Maggie Cheung so beautifully blended into the dim-lit scenes, it started a new fashion movement in Asia! The plot is deeply moving. The two people who are next door neighbors both knew their spouses were having an affair and left them behind. Confused and eager to know what happened, they came to each other. Slowly, the attraction grows between them, yet bound by their morals and impacted by their spouses' betrayal, they silently denied and resisted the growing affection. Slowly, the confined living space and the tight dresses wore by the actress and the dim light transformed into symbols of the social boundaries, confined emotions, suppressed desires, and diminishing hope, and Tony Leung reveals it all in his deep, sorrowful gazes, accompanied with Nat King Cole singing in Spanish " Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps"... I am not a person who loves the indulgence in the past or the blues, yet I willingly fell for the magically reminiscent scenes. I was captivated completely. However, you must see it to believe it."