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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time is flying, the world is changing
This Chinese film goes back to the recent past of Hong Kong, China and the Chinese. The love affair is delicate but it is not the essential element in the film, except as a metaphor for change, for the changing world. In those years (circa 1963) the world was changing but within a divided pattern, that of the two blocks and we feel this behind the scenes. The Shanghai...
Published on Dec 26 2003 by Jacques COULARDEAU

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3.0 out of 5 stars A languid, contemplative love story.
"In the Mood for Love" is a generic title for a very detailed and atmospheric film. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung are neighbors in 1960s Hong Kong who discover that their spouses are having an affair. Initially, Cheung and Leung's characters spend time together to commiserate, but gradually, they fall in love. Determined not to be unworthy adulterers, they continually...
Published on Feb. 27 2002 by Jayne MacManus


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time is flying, the world is changing, Dec 26 2003
By 
This review is from: In the Mood For Love [Widescreen & Subtitled] [2 Discs] [Import] (DVD)
This Chinese film goes back to the recent past of Hong Kong, China and the Chinese. The love affair is delicate but it is not the essential element in the film, except as a metaphor for change, for the changing world. In those years (circa 1963) the world was changing but within a divided pattern, that of the two blocks and we feel this behind the scenes. The Shanghai community in Hong Kong, a symbol of the change in continental China. The family going to the US to visit their grandchildren, a symbol of the attraction of the US in those days, but also of the desire to go away from continental China and the danger some thought it represented. The visit to Cambodia and its sacred temples, with de Gaulle's visit in the middle of it in 1966, brings up the phantom of the Vietnam War behind this historical period. The spouses working in Japan or Singapore or Thailand shows the development of Asia in those days, led by Japan as the great industrial and commercial power it was becoming. But we have to think of the present. Things have changed so much. Japan is no longer the leading power in Asia. Hong Kong has found its place in continental China. Shanghai is more attractive than San Francisco. Cambodia has rebuilt its unity and independence after the tragedy represented by the intervention of the US on its territory and the subsequent bloody episodes. Today the Chinese are not emigrating abroad any more. They have become the engine of the development of Asia. This vision of Hong Kong in the early 60s emphasizes this change and the film is like archeology. The love affair then is symbolical of this evolution : the spouses emigrating to other Asian countries and having a love affair there ; the young man visiting Cambodia or even further and coming back not to discover, by lack of courage, what happened to the woman, though the film tells us about the son she got from her liaison with him, is a symbol of the complete beaking up of human relations in that world ; the vision of the Temples of Angkor, a Buddhist monk there, and the man burrying his secret in a hole in the wall plugged up with some earth, is a vision of very old traditions, beliefs and even superstitions, a world that has mostly disappeared. Very nostalgic. And the film is systematically invaded with music from Brazil or other distant, non Asian countries and in some foreign language that has nothing to do with Hong Kong. A symbol of the uprooting of this community brought by the divided world, but also announcing the globalization of the world that was to come at the time and is in the process of emerging today. The slowing down of some scenes makes these scenes look like some old dream, or old recollection, look like a mnemonic vision of a past that has disappeared.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars *Ambiguities made me adore the movie*, Jan. 10 2004
This review is from: In the Mood For Love [Widescreen & Subtitled] [2 Discs] [Import] (DVD)
I was born in hongkong in 80's,and this movie portrayed the love between a journalist and his neighbour in 60's.Their love was unconventional when compare to the social taboo at that time.I found it the most fansinating that their attitude towards each other and the tone of their words were ambiguous!!After watching it,I search many pictures of Hong Kong in 1960's.They are wonderful and I love them so much.Nowadays,many hong kong students rare notice the bright side of Hong Kong in the past.They neglect the history and culture of Hong Kong.However,this movie , in fact, provided lots of pretty accessories and furniture in the 60's.They are incredible.
Besides,the sharp contrast of colour made by Wong was remarkable.The clothes were extremely beautiful and unique.The angle that Wong tried to shoot from the reflection of mirror was actually carrying out confusing ideas and ambiguities.Some of the scenes were blurred by rain ,shadow and smoke,maybe rendering a sense of escape and moral depravity of Chow.
Over all,the ending scene shot in AngKor Wat was excellent!!I love the quote ::: "He remembers those vanished years.
As though looking through a dusty window pane,
the past is something he could see, but not touch.
And everything he sees is blurred and indistinct."
Though they have no future , they had once continued sacrificing,or giving, simply for each other.The background music "Theme" was also a great supplement!!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you read between the lines it can get very intense, Nov. 13 2007
By 
Jenny J.J.I. "A New Yorker" (That Lives in Carolinas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This film is a teasing allegory of loneliness and longing. Here is a film without sex, or even kissing -- and it is no doubt one of the sexiest and definitely the most thought-provoking and psychological romance I have seen for a while. In addition to this Maggie Cheung can really sport some beautiful dresses through this film.

Telling the story of two people who coincidentally, live in the same apartment, and are a door away from each other. The film, like and unlike Random Hearts, is about how two people come together via the affair of their two lovers. Only once they receive this news, they take the time to think about the consequences of an affair, and each other's feelings towards having just broken-up -- and whether or not the two people are willing enough to fall back in love.

What's terrific about the film is the way director Wong Kar-Wai, presents each character's way of dealing with loneliness. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung are both fantastic and Christopher Doyle is simply the best cinematographer in the business watch Temptress Moon (perhaps my favorite ever from him) for more evidence that what I say is true. With Maggie Cheung's character, he'll show her, in a repeated montage: leaving work, going home, watching her neighbors gamble, head to the noodle shop, leave the noodle shop, and bump into her attractive age-equal, played by Tony Leung. This is a clever, if not subtle and knowing technique to present loneliness. For it is when you are alone, when you find yourself falling into a loop. There are many, many close-ups in this movie, I really think this gives a claustrophobic atmosphere to their romance.

This comes as no surprise since the movie does take place in Hong Kong and we get the impression that this is a place where everything is cramped and everyone knows everything about everybody else. It seems like they give as much concern to seeing each other as they are to keeping their relationship within the confines of social standards as well. As I said before there is nothing explicit. It is all percolating under the surface. This lends itself to the feeling that the chaos of the world outside is mirrored by the chaos of their own hidden emotions on the inside. This film was forward to me by my friends who adores Asian cinema in return I will highly recommend this to you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Much more then meets the eye .. prelude to 2046, March 22 2011
By 
Glenn Laycock (Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
UPDATE: 2012 BLU-RAY EDITION

The new BluRay Edition is simply outstanding. Print quality and sound, you could not ask for better. The extra's WOW - lot of 2012 additional material, including a documentary that shows almost an hours worth of production footage that shows the original (largly funny!) original storyline, including a super cool dance number excerpt (deleted as too funny?). Specials on the soundtrack and much more -- I did not realize it was shot twice for instance (with Doyle quitting with the prospect of doing it again). Just amazing. Highly recommended. Let's hope they do it with 2046 next!

* * * *
I watched this movie late one night about a year ago on a 27 in TV. The pacing seemed slow and I was falling sleep through most of it. I decided to watch it again last night on my 42 inch TV and that alone made a huge difference, and also I was "in the mood" for watch a movie to try to understand the message.

First, you need to slow the introduction's written message down so you can read and ponder it a bit so that you are "in the mood" to discover its importance. I found after that I was totally interested in the story as it unfolded.

It has a really unusual "clips" feeling of giving us KEY glimpse of these two lonely people's lives. Maggie Cheung's character is witness (and accomplice really) to her boss having an affair on his wife; so she knows the signs and does not know how to react in a culture that has a belief system of "normal" and when the reality is not like that - hypocrisy and denial seem the "norm". Tony Leung's character is also helping his friend in being a womanizer - repeating several times, he is not like his friend. Both characters do it passively, but the world's reality around them - eventually to include their own spouses - makes them increasingly alone in the belief of how loving people treat each other.

**SPOILERS**

There one big irony .. the betrail of Maggie Cheung's character when the relationship and love shared between these two people - almost a misfit in the "reality" of that culture; Maggie chooses to live the illusion.

Another interesting thing is TIMING; introduce in a sequence near the end when Tony and Maggie both visit the apartment building years later - as that love had anchored memories of happiness to it; or the possibility of happiness. He does not realize she is living there as a tenant in his old apartment says the old owner moved out and a "woman and child" live there now. He pauses at her door, as if about to knock, but continues on past. A moment of perfect potential timing - perhaps ignoring intuition (he brought a gift) being missed. Or would the past behaviours of denial and debating reality and illusion be followed?

Possible elements: in the out takes they do have sex; I wondered if the child was his? Also they meet years later (again in the out takes)and basically end up going their own ways - past pattern repeated, another opportunity missed.

Finally, there is a LOT similar in 2046 - the round openings and the openings and windows in 2046. The hallway with the round lights on the roof, and the hallways on the 2046 train. A lot of the dialogue is repeated, such as "sometimes your emotions catch you unaware" or "sometime feelings can creep up on you ..." I was pleasaantly surprised how well 2046 was an excellent follow up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable journey., July 19 2004
This review is from: In the Mood For Love [Widescreen & Subtitled] [2 Discs] [Import] (DVD)
'In the Mood for Love' is a touching, engrossing meditation on, you guessed it, love: what it is, what creates it, what ends it, what keeps it sewn strong together. All of these aspects are collected into a clever, lovely, sometimes devastating piece of artistry directed by the fabulous Wong-Kar Wai. Those of you who love romantic comedies or grand, epic love sagas will be immensely disappointed with his latest film. It is not either. Rather, it is a gem of cinema that strives for emotional truth and absolute realism. Inside of cramped apartments and old diners, that, too, is what the main characters of 'In the Mood for Love' yearn for.
The film takes place in Hong Kong during the year 1962. Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) and Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) have just moved into neighboring apartments and have met each other rather casually. But the two progressively realize a secret about their respective spouses and a profound relationship develops almost instantly. From there, the film sets a tone that is cislunar, seeming to float in its own world situated between reality and a sense of disconnection. Kar-Wai perfectly evokes this mood with fleeting slow-motion sequences accompanied by Christopher Doyle and Mark Li Ping-bin's delicately visceral cinematography. What ensues throughout the rest of the film (both plot-wise and technically) masterfully conveys romantic yearning.
The lead performances were breathtaking, namely Maggie Cheung as Su Li-zhen. From scenes of obvious hurt to moments of hidden despair, she ceaselessly astonishes. I'm surprised she did not receive the massive encomium she deserved from 2001 year-end awards groups, let alone the Oscars. But credit must also be given to Tony Leung as Chow Mo-wan, who managed to maintain a quiet, tired loneliness throughout the film. Leung also understood that it was only with Su Li-zhen that Chow Mo-wan felt truly alive with passion.
Another character worth mentioning are the breath-taking sets by production designer William Chang Suk-ping. The claustrophobic atmosphere offered by Suk-ping's dated, tight hallways was as much a part of the emotion and story line as each lead. Collectively, each part of the movie-making process (screenwriting, directing, designing, acting) achieved an assured concinnity; and in the end, what was already a personal, accessible study is lifted by Kar-Wai to a universal level using epic shots of Mayan temples and mysterious landscapes. As the credits role, it becomes apparent that 'In the Mood for Love' is arguably a masterpiece worthy of the all-time lists.
For me personally, the constant flashbacks of wind sifting past vinaceous curtains and artful conversations about love at its core only underscore 'Love's greatness. It is an unforgettably personal journey not to be missed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tertiary Love Film at its Highest Form, May 5 2004
By 
Kelvicious (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In the Mood For Love [Widescreen & Subtitled] [2 Discs] [Import] (DVD)
98 minutes of excellence. I am never a big fan for romantic films. Especially with the current scene filled with countless teen-or-chick flicks, I have become very picky on this category. I watched it with skepticism. 98 mins later, I switch off the TV in great relief, and also with understanding of why a few people do not enjoy it.
Generally, people who dislike this film have the following reasons:
1. Simple plot and no plot twist
2. Repetitive scenes
3. Few and confusing dialogues
4. No significant signs of intimacy or eroticism. Can it even be categorized into "Romance"?
One thing I have learnt from "In the Mood for Love" is also the same thing I wish romantic film directors would learn for a long time: Character Study and Development are often more important than unnecessary plot twist. There are pretty much only two characters in the movie, but by middle the audience could feel as if we know them for real. Thus we do feel the characters' happiness, pain and suffering. Yes, even if the time is set in 1962, Hong Kong.
The repetitive scenes do not represent lack of creativity. In fact it is one of the hardest tricks in my opinion. Although some actions are very similar, each scene has a subtle change in intimacy and impact for future relationship. Not one of the scenes can be taken away because they're all crucial links. As for the dialogue, it is few but every line is to the point. Each word is polished to sharpest and kept to minimum. Every word is a keyword.
Intimacy and eroticism are indications and eye-candy. Audience would understand immediately two people are in love. In my opinion this is director's point of view to choose it or not. Wong Kar Wai deliberately wanted to create a longing relationship without obvious physical contact to add up the sadness. In fact, the film has at least once "Implied Intimacy". ***SPOILER*** When Su told Chow she did not want to go back home in the cab, that "Implies"they would probably spend the night together ***SPOILER***
It could be artistic whether sex scenes are included or not. It just happens that WKW wants to present us a unique experience. I highly appreciate this effot. In the Mood for Love is a ten-level-upped romantic film and I definitely recommend it to every viewer, tertiary or not.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, flawless, perfect, beautiful!, March 26 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: In the Mood For Love [Widescreen & Subtitled] [2 Discs] [Import] (DVD)
Simply put, it is one of the more ravishingly beautiful films ever made! Every now and then, a director and his collaborators are so in-tune with each other, so opperating at the height of their powers, that as a viewer watching it, you are aware of watching greatness yet an air of disbelief pervades. Such feelings you get with (to name a few flawless masterpieces) Tarkovsky's ANDREI RUBLEV, Bergman's CRIES & WHISPERS, Fellini's LA DOLCE VITA, Lee's DO THE RIGHT THING, Scorsese's TAXI DRIVER, and Hitchcock's VERTIGO. All of the aforementioned films are flawless works which use everything the cinema can do...such films are perfect; IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE is such a film. It is a masterpiece and a must own!
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5.0 out of 5 stars DVD's Don't Get Better Than This, Jan. 23 2004
By 
The Nippon Newfie "The Nippon Newfie" (Tokyo Japan and Bangkok Thailand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In the Mood For Love [Widescreen & Subtitled] [2 Discs] [Import] (DVD)
This is a love story set in China in the early 1960's. A man and woman are neighbours and discover that their spouses are having an affair. They meet to discuss, to commiserate, to comfort but finally fall in love. They don't want to be like their partners though. The movie is about passion, but also about restraint - how love can make us not act, rather than act. The scenes are beautifully shot, the costumes stunning and with the wet streets, the slow pacing and Nat King Cole singing Spanish in the background you are transported to another time. Often it felt more like an Italian film of the early 60's than a Chinese film made just last year. It is layered and rich in content and style.I have watched the DVD five or six times already and still discover more nuances with each viewing.
The Criterion Collection two-disc DVD is what DVD's are really meant to be. The making of featurette and the deleted scenes allow even deeper insights into an already intriguing film. I especially enjoyed the interviews with Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung at the Toronto Film Festival - you can really appreciate the charm of these two very talented actors.
This is a DVD to be enjoyed again and again. It is the gem in my DVD library.
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4.0 out of 5 stars stunningly beautiful but very restrained, Nov. 30 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: In the Mood For Love [Widescreen & Subtitled] [2 Discs] [Import] (DVD)
Beautiful people, beautiful places and a great feel for Hong Kong in that era.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Simply Magic, Oct. 25 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: In the Mood For Love [Widescreen & Subtitled] [2 Discs] [Import] (DVD)
This is one of the most beautiful film ever made. It tells the story of how two people's lives became somewhat entangled after discovering that their spouses were cheating on them with each other. There is nothing new about this in movies BUT the way the story was told is what made it so memorable. It unfurled at a slow and easy pace with soundtrack that matched the mood perfectly. The secret glances and silent stares that said everything yet nothing all left viewer with a case longing for weeks and weeks.
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In the Mood For Love [Widescreen & Subtitled] [2 Discs] [Import]
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