Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung

In the Mood for Love


Director: Wong Kar-Wai

Stars: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Maggie Cheung

Like most of Wong Kar-Wai's movies, this one has a fairly simple story. Wan (Leung) and Shen (Cheung) are neighbors in a crowded boarding house in 1960's Hong Kong. Both of their spouses seem to spend a lot of time out of the country on business, and they eventually surmise that their partners are having an affair. Their feelings and situation obviously steers them towards each other and they must decide whether they will go down the same path.

Much of the discussion on this movie centers on the non-consummation of Wan and Shen's relationship. Meaning, they don't have sex -- or even kiss. And that seems to piss a lot of people off. One review I read called it "irritating." But I think many of those reviews missed the point of this movie, or maybe Wong Kar-Wai's works in general. His films -- despite the flashy camerawork, all-star casts and critical acclaim -- are more representations of slices of life rather than grand comments on the human psyche. Wong admits his plots and stories are not his strong points and concentrates more on characters in his movies, and that's what we have here.

In the Mood for Love creates a wonderful sense of '60's Hong Kong. From the old film stock, to the fashions, to the story that creates a sense of both the loneliness and loss of privacy that any large city can give to a person, especially when they are on their own. And if you are wondering -- yes, there is romance in the movie, but it is made up of small gestures, such as the simple touch of a hand. This gives In the Mood for Love a romantic sense that many other so-called romances (from all over the world, but especially Hollywood) miss. Love is oftentimes not about being with someone, but being without someone -- to never be able to touch them, to never be able to consummate the relationship. It is this "irritating" feeling which really creates (pardon the pun) the mood in the movie and makes it worth watching.


A review of the VCD for this movie can be found here

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