In the Mood for Love ★★★★★

Day 134 of 365 of my year long challenge

Week 20: In the mood for Love

Whether you've got a partner by your side or just some food, movies will always be there for you. Happy Valentines.

There are some movies you just know that you'll love, that you'll rate so highly and enjoy, that will simply stick. Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love is just that movie for me. I'm not one to hand out a full five stars, I'm not of the general opinion that any film can get there, and even this isn't quite perfect, but early on, my only struggle was how could I not. It's a modern classic of pure atmosphere and unrequited love.

Hong Kong, 1962. Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) inquires about a room to rent only to find it just rented out to Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung). Fortunately, a room is available next door and the two become neighbours. Moving in at the same time, Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan often find themselves alone as their respective spouses are away working. Continually passing on stairwells to and from home or the noodle joint, the pair find themselves brought together by a mutual sense of abandonment. A relationship (largely platonic) blooms between the two, forcing them to behave as if they were having an affair. However, pride, scrutiny, and stubbornness leave the two with an unrequited love that follows them for years to come.

I really don't want to say too much about In the Mood for Love because of three things. Firstly, it is a film that needs to be experienced. In many ways, it is a nothing kind of film and because of that, to simply read about it makes it sound either very melodramatic or very full in terms of content. It's neither. Instead, you'll simply have to sit through 90 minutes of beautiful cinematography, fantastic acting and a stellar soundtrack (it is now one of my favourites).

The second reason I won't say too much is because I am still chewing it over. I still have that overly excited feeling that you get when you sit down and watch something you know was really good. Maybe that puts extra bias on things but even now, I know I won't come back and change my thoughts.

Finally, I won't say much more because I don't want to spoil it. Not so much for you but for me. Doing this challenge, I have reached a point where I know that, if a film has failed to excite me, any thoughts and reviews come out in a formula. The thoughts are concretely theoretical as if I'm in class. This time, though, I don't want to do that and even if I did, I don't think I could. Suffice to say, every aspect of this film came together in ways that simply made the whole so very, very good.

From top to bottom, be it the gorgeous visuals, the perfect music or the sublime performances by Leung and Cheung, In the Mood for Love just works. It can be maddeningly frustrating and almost unsatisfying for some but, as a love story and one simply about people, it's as honest and as fantastic as one could possibly want.

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