I love Wong Kar-Wai. He captures what it means to be human so well. He can nail the full depth of feeling and bring you to a place that can only be described as achingly human – beautiful, painful, feeling. From Happy Together to Days of Being Wild, the man has crafted some amazing stories that showcase pain, love and everything in between. The ultimate, for me at least, is In the Mood for Love. Here are five reasons to seek this one out and consume it like a ripe piece of fruit.
|Oh, I can hear the strings already…|
#1 – The performances
The plot revolves around the bond that grows between Chow (Tony Leung) and Su (Maggie Cheung), two neighbors who realize that their spouses are having an affair with each other. As they retrace the way that this could have possibly happened, we get to see their hurt, their attempts at understanding, and their utter confusion at the possibility of falling for each other. No other love story holds a candle to the way that Leung and Cheung play these two characters. What they lend is powerful, and you simply must see it.
#2 – The costumes
Oh, for the fashion of 1960s Hong Kong. If only men looked as dapper as Leung. As for Cheung, she sported a style of dress called a cheongsam, which is fitted in all the right places, high-necked and elegant. She goes through 21 of these dresses. Each is lovely and provides a delicate beauty to her. The effect the dresses render on her lends her character a type of fragile beauty that she works hard to project through mannerisms and quiet vocal tone. Right down to the last stitch, these characters are prim, proper and classy. Total fashion porn.
|So… much… fashion… porn…|
#3 – The style of the direction
Wong Kar-Wai angles the camera so that we’re constantly spying on these characters. It’s easy to see, but it doesn’t cheapen the film at all. In fact, it leaves you wanting more. From peeking around corners to hanging low to the ground and facing the backs of other characters, you feel like someone that’s taking a forbidden look into something you’re not supposed to see. It adds to the mood without being snobby.
#4 – The music
The main string motif throughout this film will haunt you. It will stick in your head. You’ll find that the score winds up playing at random times and adding beauty as it goes about your day, which is a pleasant surprise. Aside from that, the rest of the music is perfect. I especially enjoyed Nat King Cole’s version of “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás.” This was one soundtrack that was done right. I’d put it up there with Mansell’s efforts in Moon.
#5 – The way it gets you to feel
It’s tough to tell at which point you’re actively hoping that these two people cave in and have an affair. You want them to be together. You love them together. I have never hoped for an on-screen couple to happen so hard in my entire life. Something that can make you feel that way – something that inspires you to hope that two people will dump their spouses for each other, which, for many, is way, WAY outside of comfort zone – deserves to be watched. It really takes a painful situation and makes it into a love story that gets you to see two people as opposed to a concept.
|There is no black and white here.|
This one does take some digging to find, as it’s not available on Amazon or Netflix for streaming. However, if you can find it, please do watch it. It’s well worth it. You won’t be sorry.