1004: In the Mood for Love (2000)

In the Mood for Love

Rating: 8/10

I like foreign films but I don’t watch them very much. I’m glad this was on the list though, even though it was a romantic melodrama. I’m not sure the word “romantic” should be there though…

The story was presented in a unique way. Instead of telling us straight out what’s going on it took the time to focus on other things and let us figure out the story until eventually the woman in apartment 1 finally talks to the man in apartment 2 and they realize that the other person knows, just as they do, that their spouse is having an affair with the other person’s spouse. Then they start having an affair with each other. It comes about after their spouses go on a work trip for different jobs to the exact same place. Though the film never overtly says, it is heavily implied that the husband and wife have run off on a vacation together.

I really liked the style of this movie. It had a consistent tone and theme of loss, doubt, denial, and showing what it’s like to be the one who’s being duped rather than the other way around like you might see in some American romantic comedies. It’s a story of people who share a tragedy and come together because of it, and it’s nice to see a shared tragedy story that isn’t about death as the overarching theme.

I thought it was interesting too that the director chose to never show the husband’s wife or the wife’s husband throughout the movie. Also, it never shows any kind of sex scene or even the two people kiss. I think it was to keep things a little ambiguous and because it’s not the important part of the story. We know what they’re doing behind closed doors, but the focus of the story is how they found each other through the loss of love from their significant others and what they do to cope with it.

I didn’t like the really slow scenes in the middle of the movie, they distracted from the otherwise tight pacing. Also, though I see why it was done this way, I think the first half-hour of the movie felt like it was struggling to find a point. It cleared up after that and became a much more interesting drama, but I appreciate first acts that jump start the movie in some way. It had a good pace, short quick scenes that showed one thing or another about the characters but I just wish it got to where it was going just a little bit faster.

Why I Think it’s on the list: Though the subject matter is nothing new I don’t think there’s ever been a romantic drama presented in such a way. Though it could just be that it’s just a really popular Chinese film even outside of China. That is astounding for something that isn’t a Kung Fu movie, sad to say.

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