Review of 'In the Mood for Love'

in_the_mood_for_love.jpg In 1960s Hong Kong, two couples move into neighbouring apartments. Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) lives with her husband and works as a secretary while their neighbour Mr. Chow (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) lives with his wife and works as a newspaper editor who would prefer to write martial arts serials. Their respective spouses spend a great deal of time away so their lives are lonely until they strike up a friendly relationship. They begin to suspect that their spouses are having an affair with each other but is their own relationship as innocent as they they think?

A rather slow-moving but rich-looking film with nuanced performances by the lead characters who often spend minutes simply emoting rather than actually doing anything. It is difficult to be drawn into the film with so little going on and in many ways this film feels as though it is just a window on a particular series of events for the two main characters rather than actually telling a conclusive story. Despite being a love story do not expect anything more than tentative hand holding and coy kissing though there is the suggestion of more…

The film looks great, evoking small parts of what Hong Kong must have been like in the early 1960s with an equal air of grittiness and glamour. There are no big set pieces but the activity, colours and smells are easy to imagine. Here the director manages to evoke the feeling of what life must have been like by concentrating on these two character's lives: The over-friendly landlord and social network of the apartment complex, the noodle seller at the bottom of the stairs…

An interesting character piece that is ultimately unsatisfying…basically, quite boring but looks good.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2020-06-13

Directed by: Kar-Wai Wong

Studio: Block 2 Pictures

Year: 2000

Length: 98 minutes

Genre: Melodrama