Romance is one of the most extensively explored themes in the history of cinema. So much so that almost every single movie ever released has romance in their plot, one way or another. With that in mind, what makes Wong Kar Wai’s 2000 film “In the Mood for Love” stand out from the rest?
The film explores the relationship between a man and a woman after the suspicions that both of their spouses are committing adultery. The two end up falling for one another but are unable to actively pursue this love due to them not wanting to commit similar wrongs, thus somewhat agreeing to keep their relationship platonic.
What ensues is a love story never before seen in the history of cinema, with majority of films exploring a love that was, or a love that is, this film explores a love that could have been. The love between the two protagonists is both mutual and unrequited, both subtle and explicit, separated by broken marriages that they both stubbornly struggle to uphold. Every glance the characters share, every word of dialogue they exchange is both filled with love and none at all.
This film is a masterpiece. Like every other WKW film, it’s beautifully shot with realistic characters and of course, stylized as hell. Shooting majority of the film in enclosed spaces and the choice of not showing us the faces of either character’s spouses really helps the audience experience the story alongside the characters. The decision to linger on shots without cutting really allows emotions to sink into the audience. Everything that WKW did to tell this amazingly heartbreaking tale that he himself wrote is just nothing short of amazing, and a true example of a master at work.
In conclusion, In the Mood for Love is a fantastic contribution to not only Asian Cinema, but cinema as a whole, and you should certainly check out Wong Kar Wai’s other films if you enjoyed this one.
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