In the Mood for Love

2001

In the Mood for Love

Critics Consensus

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

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 125
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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 business trips. Across the hall, Chow (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) works as a newspaper editor and is married to a woman who is also frequently out of town. Neither respective spouse is ever shown in full, instead they are shot from the back or obscured by walls and furniture. Li-zhen and Chow soon strike up a cordial -- if tenative -- friendship. Chow begins to suspect that his wife's long absences are not entirely business related when he stops in unannounced at her office to discover that she is not there. Later, a colleague tells him that he saw his wife with another man. The icing on the cake comes when Chow notices that Li-zhen's handbag is identical to his wife's while Li-zhen discovers that Chow is wearing a tie that she gave her husband; it doesn't take long for them to realize that their spouses are sleeping together. Drawn together by shame and anger, Chow and Li-zhen reveal nothing of their discoveries to their partners. While working through their guilt by imagining how their adulterous spouses first hooked up and rehearsing interrogations, the pair slowly fall in love in spite of their determination to uphold their end of their marital vows. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for In the Mood for Love

All Critics (125) | Top Critics (38)

  • The settings are wilfully drab - narrow corridors, cramped apartments - yet the fragmentary, richly coloured images are dazzling.

    Nov 16, 2018 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 15, 2014

    David Denby

    New Yorker
    Top 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.

    Apr 15, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It's intelligently conceived, exquisitely crafted and flawlessly acted.

    Apr 15, 2014 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 15, 2014 | Full Review…

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top 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.

    Aug 14, 2012 | Full Review…

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