"Adultery Hong Kong Style"
What You Need To Know:
Rare is the modern movie about adultery where there is not depicted adultery, but the only affection displayed between the two leads is she puts her head on his shoulder in a taxi. However, Mr. Chow eventually sees the error of his ways. Acting and cinematography are superb, but the situations, music and dialogue eventually become monotonous. Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chang do not find love in this movie, but only temporary and sinful relief to their own loneliness. They are really in the mood for reconciliation and righteousness
(Ro, B, L, S, AA, D) Fatalist, romantic worldview where circumstances drive couple to adulterous relationship, ending with moral ending of man leaving the sinful relationship; one vulgarity; no violence; implied adulterous act; no nudity but many images of women in form fitting dresses; implied adulterous act; alcohol use & abuse; smoking; and, no other objectionable material.
IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE proves that America does not have a lock on movies about infidelity, such as THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY and THE ENGLISH PATIENT. Winner of the Best Actor Award and the Grand Prix de la Technique (for its editing, cinematography and production design) at the Cannes Film Festival, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE is a study on how circumstance and tight quarters can catch you compromising. Its writer/director Kar-wai Wong also created CHUNKING EXPRESS, FALLEN ANGEL and HAPPY TOGETHER.
In 1962 Hong Kong, Mr. Chow (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), a journalist who wishes to create martial arts novels, moves into a new building with his wife. Also new to the building that same day are a secretary, Mrs. Chang (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk), and her executive husband. Chow’s wife and Mrs. Chang’s husband are often away at work. In typical Hong Kong fashion, the new building has narrow hallways and stairwells. Mrs. Chang and Mr. Chow often pass closely in the halls as they go about their business and sit home alone in their respective rooms waiting for their spouses to return from trips. In time, Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chang realize, when comparing gift items, that their spouses are actually having an affair.
This news is a shock to both of them. They find comfort in each other’s company. They eat together. He helps her script the words she’ll say to confront her husband. She helps him organize and write a martial arts novel. Eventually, Mr. Chow’s feelings for Mrs. Chang become too great, and he decides he must leave for Singapore on an assignment to escape from her, but not before a suggested moment of adultery resulting in years passing, where she is still married and has a young son, but this son may or may not belong to her husband.
Rare is the modern movie about adultery where there is not depicted adultery, or at least adulterous kisses and flirtations. The only affection displayed between the two is she puts her head on his shoulder in a taxi. As far as depictions, this movie is downright chaste. It plays like a movie from early Hollywood. In fact, the director seems to create a sense of sympathy for the characters for their transgression by creating a situation where adultery wasn’t really anticipated or desired between the leads, but this is really the story of many adulterous affairs: “I didn’t mean to do it. One thing led to another, you know.” However, Mr. Chow eventually sees the error of his ways and decides to leave Mrs. Chan, so that her marriage isn’t further compromised.
Acting and cinematography are superb in this movie, but the situations and dialogue eventually become monotonous. Likewise, there are only two pieces of music played over and over again, also becoming wearying. Unlikely to play in anything but larger cities, it has neither the morality nor star quality of, say, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, to find a larger audience. Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chang do not find love in this movie, but only temporary and sinful relief to their own loneliness. They are really in the mood for reconciliation and righteousness.