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In the Mood for Love (2001)



Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 119
Fresh: 107 | Rotten: 12

This understated romance, featuring good performances by its leads, is both visually beautiful and emotionally moving.


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 35
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 3

This understated romance, featuring good performances by its leads, is both visually beautiful and emotionally moving.



liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 51,277


My Rating

Movie Info

For his first film since the 1997 Hong Kong handover, auteur filmmaker Wong Kar-wai directs this moody period drama about unrequited love that, like his earlier work, swoons with romantic melancholy. Set in a Shanghaiese enclave in Hong Kong in 1962, the film centers on two young couples who rent adjacent rooms in a cramped and crowded tenement. Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung) works as a secretary in an export company while her husband's job at a Japanese multinational keeps him away on extended


Drama, Romance, Art House & International

Kar-Wai Wong

Mar 5, 2002

USA Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (120) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (107) | Rotten (12) | DVD (28)

So skillfully does the director brings us to a state of breathless expectation that when he refuses to deliver the goods he almost seems to have invented a new form of perversion.

April 15, 2014 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In the Mood is a love story told from the point of impact, at the heart, and no conventional resolution could be more profound.

April 15, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
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It's intelligently conceived, exquisitely crafted and flawlessly acted.

April 15, 2014 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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Further complemented by the gentle lull of Nat King Cole songs, In The Mood For Love casts a dreamy and melancholic spell that remains unbroken long after the closing credits have rolled.

April 15, 2014 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong's most romantic filmmaker, is known for his excesses, and in that sense the film's spareness represents a bold departure.

August 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is gorgeous, dripping with texture and sensuality and, well, mood.

August 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In the Mood for Love is a beautifully understated and heart-wrenching story of unrequited passion.

April 15, 2014 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

The tension between romantic attraction and sexual fulfillment builds to an almost unbearable intensity.

April 15, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Heat rises from the film like steam from its noodle bars. It's enough to make you giddy.

April 15, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

As a study of people determined to remain more true to their values than to their emotions, In the Mood for Love offers an experience like few other films of recent memory.

April 15, 2014 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

It bleeds color and passion like a Monet in an impressionistic, visually ravishing tale of unrequited love between two repressed souls.

April 15, 2014 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

While one may be less than happy with the film's narrative turns, Wong Kai-war remains one of those intrinsically visual directors whose work needs to be seen, not described.

April 15, 2014 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Ethereal, evanescent, evocative of true, ineffable experience, In the Mood for Love is amazing

November 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

As beautiful as it is to look at, In the Mood for Love is full of passing moments, missed opportunities, and plenty of darkness.

November 9, 2012 Full Review Source:

The emotional richness of the piece undeniably pierces the heart.

March 26, 2010 Full Review Source:

The performances are quietly aching, never relying on explosions to push a point home.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

Agençant parfaitement la simplicité de son récit à la complexité de sa mise en scène, Wong Kar Wai nous livre au final un chef-d'%u0153uvre incontestable en son genre.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Panorama | Comments (2)

As this lovely film moves from allegro to adagio, it never loses its pervasive sense of loneliness.

June 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

It rivals the impact...Lost Highway [had for me], and is easily one of the best films I have ever seen.

February 21, 2004 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for In the Mood for Love

June 17, 2012
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

Possibly the most unique and finely crafted romances to ever grace the silver screen. Wong Kar Wai, known for his work capturing the intimate lives of those living in a densely-packed metropolis & capturing the beautifully-lit Hong Kong city-scapes with the help of cinematographer Christopher Doyle, soulfully indulges in exploring one of his favorite themes: unrequited love. Rather than just stressing the forlorn, Wai looks at a pair who share a common bond, but due to societal and self-inflicted restraints, must now eternally deal with the onerous question of "what could have been?"
In a city where secrets are seldom kept for long, Chow (Tony Leung) & Su's (Maggie Cheung) fates become intertwined as it is learned that their spouses are having an affair. Through their mutual grief & longing to understand, they evolve from consolers into pursuers. However, fearing the public's opinion on such a taboo tryst-coupled with their own fears of what they will become-they do not allow themselves to fully give in to their desires. Wai's skillful eye helps to augment the arresting power behind the lover's concerns.
Being so obsessed with gossip & fearful of becoming the object of scandal, Wai's framing and intrusive camera-work gives the sense that as an audience we are just as culpable as the neighbors for making judgements about how these people run their private lives. Rarely, do we see these characters from inside their personal space. Most of the time there is a blurred door-frame in the forefront of the picture or a slightly dirty window-pane separating us from their intimate moments. This visual motif is highly effective as one cannot help but feeling like a voyeur, projecting our morality on to them & using their personal lives as entertainment. We are among the countless eyes scrutinizing their every move, confirming their worst fears. A theme made all the more intriguing by Michael Galasso's beautifully moody score. While this would seem like enough material for an already great film, Wai subtly adds another dimension to the story by not only having this couple be the victim of public perception, but also by showing the agency by which they are molding their own future.
Upon hearing the news of their spouse's infidelity, Chow & Su begin to act out scenarios in which they pretend to be each others betrothed. In their own way, attempting to understand how relationships of this nature develop. Bizarre enough as the situation already sounds, they seem to begin living vicariously through these mock sensual exchanges. Experiencing the same thrill that their partners must have felt. Only unwilling to consummate the relationship for fear of having to relinquish the moral high ground.
After all, Wai shrewdly hints throughout the picture that their situation isn't completely thrust upon them. Their eyes are wondering ever so slightly & they are even seen changing direction when the other is near. Also, Su is constantly adorned with the latest fashion. (49 different dresses throughout the film to be exact). Causing one of her neighbors to off-handedly remark to another, "She dresses like that to go out for noodles?" It is buried more than the other themes in the film, but one that adds a curious complexity to the whole situation.
This film is a rare gem in a genre that I thought I had written-off completely. One that is not only thought-provoking & gorgeous to look at, but suffused with something I find missing in most romance pictures: sincerity.
March 11, 2012
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

In The Mood For Love is a Kar-Wai Wong delicate masterpiece of shared sorrow inflicted by distant and adulterous spouses. Elegance despite treachery. Stylized and sophisticated cinema artistry. Sultry soundtrack. Exquisite.
September 10, 2011
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

A man and a woman, each with distant spouses, form a friendship, burning with subtle romance, after they move in next to each other.
In My Blueberry Nights, the only other Kar Wai Wong film that I have seen, there were so many ridiculously placed montages and shots in which the camera drifts from the banal to the boring with nothing happening in between. There was a little of the same in In the Mood for Love, but I found the montages and slow camera movement more fitting with the film's attempt at subtle seductiveness. In the end, I don't think it works because such attempts at creating atmosphere instead of character simply don't fit my tastes, but at least his stylistic camerawork made more sense.
I think your overall reaction to this film depends on how invested you become with these characters. They don't let each other in, and consequently, I felt just as distanced from them. By the end of the film, I didn't think I knew these people well. But structurally and from a filmmaking point of view, there isn't much missing. And if a story about characters letting down their guard, which is a response to social pressures, isn't the story they want to tell, then it shouldn't be forced about them.
Overall, there are few other films that I think can be debated as vigorously as this one can. If you suggested it was sublime, I would have as little objection as I would to someone who suggested it was shit.
April 6, 2011
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

    1. Mister Ho: I sometimes wonder what I'd be if I hadn't married. Have you ever thought of that?
    2. Su Li-zhen: Maybe happier. I didn't know married life would be so complicated. When your single, you are only responsible to yourself. Once you're married, doing well on your own is not enough.
    – Submitted by Gabzy G (2 years ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • In the Mood for Love (Fa yeung nin wa) (DE)
  • In The Mood For Love (UK)
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