This is an impossibly beautiful, and deeply sorrowful story of forbidden love in Hong Kong in 1962. Its rich and sumptuous colours, almost tangible textures and haunting soundtrack combine to create a uniquely modern old-fashioned experience. The plot centres on a woman and a man living next door to each other in a crowded block of flats. They pass on the stairs. Share coy smiles. And eventually strike up a friendship.
POTENTIAL SPOILER: they finally put two and two together and realise that their spouses are having an affair. Although there’s an obvious attraction between the protagonists, they want to rise above it, to be better than the spouses who have hurt them so badly, and to be ‘good’. The tension is palpable. You’ll be willing them to go it together. Damn the cheating spouses to hell, just find your own happiness! END SPOILER
In The Mood For Love had a real effect on me. I kept thinking about it long after the credits rolled, and that doesn’t often happen. It looks amazing. Amazing. Maggie Cheung is fascinating to watch as our protagonist (Mrs Chan), so subtle and understated, and yet she somehow manages to make us feel what she feels.
The direction is wonderful, the acting is perfect, the costumes are exquisite, the cinematography is glorious, the score is heart-breaking. I really liked this film. I do have to say that there’s a slight pacing problem. It kind of loses momentum for a bit at about the half way mark, and I can understand how some people might struggle to stick with it. There’s also the lack of dramatic set pieces. A lack of exciting plot twists. It might seem boring to some. But to me, it’s beautiful. it’s cinema as art. Not the really annoying ‘I can’t belive they’re passing this off as art’ kind of art you see at the Tate Modern. The good kind of art. The kind you can’t take your eyes off.
If you like intelligent, thoughtful drama, don’t mind subtitles and don’t require car chases and explosions to enjoy your films, this might be worth a look.
Watch the whole film here: