29 November 2004 | OttoVonB
The most disarming romance ever filmed.
In 60s Hong Kong, a man and woman move in the same day into adjacent apartments with their respective spouses. Soon they suspect their ever absent spouses of having an affair with one-another. A strange bond emerges between the man and woman as they cope with their sadness by taking turns playing each other's spouse, before a more complex bond emerges...
No summary can do it justice, for Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai's "In the Mood for Love" is nothing short of a miracle. A story about sadness that manages to be touching and at times funny. A romance that never feels forced or fake. No doubt the director's method has a lot to do with that.
Directed from an inexistent screenplay (though the concept largely flows from a Japanese short story) to favor improvisation, the film is immediately set apart by the freshness of it's performances. All the film revolves around that and the rest is pure enhancement. At the core of the film are two characters that will ease into your heart and stay there long after the end credits roll: Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung are simply amazing and no language barrier undermines a single fragment of immediacy and truth they display. The additional material is also top-notch: the films is magnificent to behold (in part lensed by "Hero"'s Christopher Doyle) and the music is heartbreaking.
This is something everybody must see, if only because it is by far the most heartfelt, mature and authentic "love story" out there. Unmissable.