Director: Kar Wai Wong
Writer: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Chen Chang
Happy Together is a great film that has a story with
substance. It’s like watching a documentary, where the subject is ‘the
most dysfunctional Chinese same-sex couple in history.’ If you’ve ever
seen the movie ‘Taxi Driver’ by Martin Scorsese, you’ll see that this
movie has a similar atmosphere and darkness. The story isn’t beautiful,
but in the end it felt like I’d seen something beautiful.
Yui-Fai (Tony Leung) and Po-Wing (Leslie Cheung) arrive
in Argentina to ‘start over’ with their relationship and take to the
road for a holiday. When their relationship drifts apart, they get stuck
in Argentina together. They fight, they love, they work, and they
struggle to get back on their feet. It’s a sad movie, yet you leave
You see their relationship fall deeper into darkness as they live
together in a small apartment for a long period of time. They care about
each other sometimes, and despise each other the rest of the time.
There’s very little narrative, which detracts from a fully emotional
connection to the characters and their situations.
Happy Together is gritty, dirty, realistic, and interesting.
It gets major points for being daring and original. I don’t care which
way you spin it, Po did not love Yui-Fai. What they
had wasn’t love, it was familiarity. They stayed together because that’s
all they could do, which is why I wouldn’t call this a romantic film.
I have a feeling that this story would work better in a novel than it
does on film. I put that down to the lack of information we’re given
about these two men. We don’t know much about their thoughts or history.
Nothing is apparent, you have to read in between the lines to truly understand them. However, in Happy Together, the whole “less is more’ technique didn’t really do any favors to the films overall enjoyablilty.
The REAL heart and soul came from the friendship between Yui Fai and Chang (Chen Chang). Chang
was only a minor character, but for me he made the movie way more
enjoyable. His presence gave me something to look forward to, for this
movie is full of sadness. He was the light that the film needed.
The last half hour of the movie really picked up. There was hope and
happiness there, and some excellent music and cinematography. I found
myself feeling elated, and wanting to find out what happens next. Since
the movie left me wanting more (which is a compliment), I’m giving it a
solid four stars. It’s beautiful, it’s real, and it’s unforgettable.