It’s rare that a movie so often touted as beautiful lives up to its reputation. I am so late to this party, but I am absolutely, unabashedly on board: director Wong Kar Wai‘s In the Mood for Love is deeply, stunningly beautiful.
Understated storytelling, gorgeous costumes, hypnotic yet stark lighting, engaging photography, and its two devastatingly beautiful leads, Maggie Cheung and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung. On all levels, the film is original yet familiar, romantic yet honest, richly textured yet austere, and somehow differently, at every turn, sumptuous.
Being late, however, means there is a treasure trove of material from and about this movie (not least of which is the director’s follow-up feature, 2046 (2004), which features ideas and material that didn’t make it into this film).
Behind the Scenes
For such a delicate, dreamy-feeling film, the photography is surprisingly crisp and high-contrast. In Depth Cine examines the tools and craft of In the Mood for Love cinematographer and regular Wong Kar Wai collaborator, Christopher Doyle:
Disclaimer for this one: In the Mood for Love is perfect in so many ways, including its ending. This alternate ending is included here merely as a curiosity, not as a must-see (and perhaps a maybe-not-see?):