‘In the Mood for Love’ is the 2000 film directed and written by Wong Kar-wai.
Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) and Su Li-zhen aka Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung) are thrown together by usual circumstance. They’re new tenants of the same apt building. In fact they move in on the same day and meet when they accidently receive personal items during the chaos. They always seem to run into each other in the hallway and at the neighborhood noodle stand.
Chow and Su are polite to one another but keep their distance. Both are workaholics. Their landlord Mrs. Suen (Rebecca Pan) hopes both will break down and attend one of her mahjong games. She too has noticed how their respective spouses are rarely home and barely spend any quality time with their loved ones.
Eventually Chow and Su decide they’re tired of eating alone. They take great pains to arrive and leave separately. They don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. It’s strictly platonic meals and conversation. Nothing else is going on. But it gets to the point where they can’t deny the truth anymore. Their spouses are having an affair.
They have proof. Chow’s wife has the same foreign brought purses as Su. Her husband got them while away on a business trip. Chow has the same foreign brought ties as Su’s husband. His wife never remembers where she got them. Their spouses are always out of town at the same time.
Though they try with all their might not to cheat, Chow and Su do fall in love. But she won’t leave her husband. The agony builds until Chow can’t take it anymore. He asks his buddy and fellow journalist Ah Ping (Siu Ping Lam) for help. Ah left Hong Kong for another newspaper in Singapore. He put in a good word and got Chow a job. Chow tells Su he’s leaving and he wants her to come with him.
The good: Glorious and beautiful even the deeply jaded will briefly become a hopeless romantic again. A chemistry so strong you assume Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung are a real life couple. He’s debonair like to Clark Gable and you want her wardrobe.
The undeniable force of Leung and Cheung’s characters stand out from the dreary world they inhabit. It’s clear that they’re soul mates trapped in two loveless marriages. You find yourself screaming at the TV. Why won’t they file for divorce so they can be together? You have to remind yourself it’s not real life.
The bad: You’re conflicted. You know infidelity is wrong. But if their spouses hadn’t cheated, they wouldn’t have formed a close bond.
The ugly: You’re left wondering did they or didn’t they? On each repeat viewing you hope for a definite answer to that question.
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