By Craig Singleton (Wigan, England)
You won’t get a more intimate picture with as much heart, depth yet sadness as this Hong Kong film created by Wong Kar-wai that centers on two people renting rooms in an apartment. Chow Mo-wan played by Tony Leung is a married journalist. Su Li-zhen played by Maggie Cheung is a married secretary. Both seem lonely as their partners are always working away so they find themselves alone for most of the time. After all the times they pass each other on the stairs and exchange hellos, the two begin to form a relationship.
This film is an example of how to carefully tell a story. The plot is relatively simple, but how it is done is nothing short of amazing. The camera for instance in the beginning doesn’t necessarily need to do anything except show the two characters settle into their new surroundings. It’s only when the characters really notice each other that it begins to get involved. Most of the shots had style and grace making the viewer see longing pain for love in Chow and Su.
The writing is fantastic to me as it felt like reality. The film doesn’t think up the best lines to say, it displays what real-life people might say. Each conversation felt very real to me and made me grow emotionally into the story. The music was a strong key factor and was put in at just the right times. Each track was different and was reflective in the mood of where the film was at.
I loved the characters of Chow and Su. They are quite the same as in their situation and personality. Both show a lack of confidence, boredom in life and loneliness. Seeing them come together is wonderful to see, but even more to the film’s credit, it’s not shown in a happy, cheery way which would contradict the tone. They both want their marriages to work, but know that they may not.
My score for the film is 93%. Lowest mark for entertainment, highest for direction. It’s made a clear impact on me and should in romantic drama films as a genre of how to capture how people feel and show it on screen. It’s a difficult thing to do yet, In the Mood for Love does it in a beautiful way.