This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Jonathan Case’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
A perfect blend of style and substance. In the Mood for Love is my first introduction to Wong Kar-wai's works. His style is immediately noticeable, but it matches the theme. It's showy whilst showing you something deeper as well.
The relationship between the two lead characters (that are wonderfully played by Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung I might add) are perhaps two of the most unique characters to inhabit a world that exists in a movie of this kind of genre. I know the commitment to what is right is what drives the film, but it's also quite astounding. For this reason, In the Mood for Love is sad in a constructive way.
I can't speak for everyone, but I, as the viewer, wouldn't have been upset with these two for being together in the end. However, while their situation was uniquely terrible, they were uniquely strong in their resolve. I know that the "hotel scene" would have been the turning point had it gone differently and thereby contradicted all of what I've just said, but as a whole, this film takes a different path.
I'm honestly not going to talk too much about Kar-wai's vision as a director for the shots themselves. They are undeniably methodical in their construction and I, like many who have seen this film, was beyond impressed with what he managed to achieve here. In the Mood for Love crushes you come the end, but in the best way possible both thematically and visually.