In The Mood For Love
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +3

Set in 1960’s Hong Kong, the story vividly portrays the loneliness and pain that accompanies an adulterous spouse. Mr. Chow (Tony Leung Chiu Wai) and Mrs. Su Li-zhen Chan (Maggie Cheung) rent apartments next door to one another. Oddly enough, both are often left alone as their spouses work long hours and sometimes travel abroad. Eventually, Chow asks his neighbor out for a friendly cup of coffee. Mrs. Chan accepts and, as they visit, mutual suspicions about their spouses’ fidelity come to light. Chow’s wife and Mrs. Chan’s husband are having an affair with each other. As they try to understand how such a thing could ever happen to them, the film chronicles the relationship of two lonely people in a shared marital disaster. Director Kar-wai Wong masterfully frames each scene, visually contrasting the couple’s close physical proximity and the polite distance of their relationship. The actors play their parts to perfection, subtly revealing the emotions that constantly lie just below the surface of polite conversation. Some viewers may object to the slow pacing and lack of action, but the Chinese-produced IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE should perform well on the art house circuit.

The politeness of the Asian culture in the 60’s delivers an interesting view of this jilted lover story. While their spouses commit adultery, the viewer sees the resulting pain in those betrayed. This negative portrayal of adultery certainly makes this film unique among many of those released these days. An American version of this film would probably have the leads jump into bed for retaliation fifteen minutes into the story. But the main characters agree that if they did the same thing, they would be no better than their wayward mates. Instead, this film explores the thoughts and feelings of the two protagonists as they regard the transgressions of their spouses. Some objectionable content includes a minor character who comments about frequenting prostitutes on a couple of occasions. Though no activity is ever shown, the story indicates the leads’ spouses commit adultery, as does Mrs. Chan’s boss, but it is clearly portrayed negatively. A couple of mild crudities also occur in the subtitles of this Chinese film. All in all though, this film has little objectionable content and a solid portrayal of the negative effects of adultery. Mature viewers might find themselves in the mood for IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Distributor: USA Films, 9333 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Crude Language: Twice – Mild
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: None
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Twice (man mentions going to prostitute, desire for sex mentioned)
Drug Abuse: Many times (cigarette smoking)
Other: Adultery portrayed in negative light
Running Time: 98 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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