In the Mood for Love (2000)

in the mood for love poster 2000 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good looking with a good cast and a story that intentionally plays with expectations


Movie Info

Movie Name:  In the Mood for Love

Studio:  Block 2 Pictures/Jet Tone Production/Orly Films

Genre(s):  Romance/Drama

Release Date(s):  May 20, 2000 (Cannes)/March 9, 2001 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

in the mood for love tony leung

Loneliness while surrounded by people

Chow Mo-wan (Tony Leung) has just moved into an apartment with his wife while Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) has also moved in with her husband.  While both of their spouses are away, Chow and Su start to have an understanding that they are similar in more ways than ever expected.  As the emotions grow between them, time and life could be their greatest challenges…and chance encounters and mistakes could be their downfall.

Written, produced, and directed by Wong Kar-wai, In the Mood for Love (花樣年華 or Fa yeung nin wah) is a romantic drama.  Following Wong’s Happy Together in 1997, the movie was released to extremely positive reviews and made multiple “best-of” lists.  The film is considered part of a loose trilogy with Days of Being Wild (1990) and 2046 (2004).  Since its release, In the Mood for Love has been cited as one of the greatest films of all time.  The Criterion Collection released a versions of the film (Criterion #147) and also included it in the boxset World of Wong Kar Wai.

in the mood for love maggie cheung red dress

The movie pops

In the Mood for Love has been a blind spot.  I heard about it when it came out and I knew I should probably see it for years.  Now having seen it, it does live up to the hype of a strange romance-anti-romance that isn’t like most of its contemporaries.

While it sounds like a salacious set-up with two cuckold people starting a relationship.  Most films of this type would be about the sex and the clandestine meetings.  While the meetings become a bit clandestine, the movie is largely about sensuality and untaken desires.  The characters are never on the same page physically and constantly fail to match up for a true “love” moment…the secrets and the moments are exciting, but it intentionally never comes to fruition into a full blown affair despite being more intense love than most movies about affairs.

The cast is good because both Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung are good at emoting their feelings through their behavior and looks…and it is largely a means to advance the story through for the characters.  Both characters aren’t really saying as much as they are not say.  Likewise, the film decides not to show either of the characters’ spouses (who are having an affair) but are voiced by Roy Cheung and Paulyn Sun.

in the mood for love rainstorm meeting tony leung maggie cheung

It almost keeps happening…

The movie is soaked in color and very visual.  Being set in the 1960s, it has a throwback look and it gives it a timeless manner to the film.  The camera also does a good way implying their relationships and emotions.  A scene involving the characters confronting their spouses about their affair is shot in a way that you think it is happening…until the camera reveals it is a practice to ask the spouses in the future.  It is a clever way to shoot what could have been a simple scene.

In the Mood for Love is a good movie that has earned a lot of its praise.  I like the film a lot, but I don’t know that I’d have it in my top movies of all time.  It is a movie that benefits from a secondary view to get the nuances of the story and performances.  Wong Kar-wai followed In the Mood for Love with 2046 in 2004.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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