Happy Together

Happy Together ★★★★★

"Lai Yiu-fai... We could start over." - Ho Po-wing

What I was expecting was a bittersweet but tender gay romance film. What I got was a painfully deep-cutting portrayal of toxic romance.

After Fallen Angels completely blew my socks off, I knew that the filmography of Kar-Wai Wong should be of immediate interest. When I found out he made a film about a gay couple's relationship, I was certain that this had to be the next one. I'll admit that I'm having trouble formulating what I want to say about this film. This is a pretty fantastic film. I know that for sure. But man. This is not an easy one.

As soon as I finished watching Happy Together, I wasn't sure what exactly to feel. I started thinking that perhaps my immediate thoughts were skewed by two things. One, I watched this film on my laptop on my college campus. So it was a small screen, I had my earbuds in, and there were more than a few people talking during the film. Two, I misunderstood what this film was actually going to be, which I explain above. So, with those two factors in mind, I decided to do something I have only done a few times in my entire life.

When I got home, I watched it again.

...I'm still confounded.

This... I don't really think a film has ever made me feel what I'm feeling right now. This is just a new feeling in general. It's sadness, anger, confusion, contentment, and who knows what else all rolled into one. I feel as though I'm at a loss of words but... I'll try to think of something.

I can touch on the technical aspects of the movie. It's a very intriguing looking film. Like films such as Children Of Men and Husbands And Wives, the cinematography made it clear that there is a living person behind the camera. It creates that feeling of you being there along with its characters. Sometimes off in the distance eavesdropping or being right in their face. It's as though you're watching a documentary rather than a work of fiction. Which perhaps elevates the feelings evoked throughout the movie. The performances are fantastic. Leslie Cheung, Tony Chiu-Wai Leun, and Chen Chang all bring something different to the table and play the hell out of their characters. The soundtrack is awesome just like in Fallen Angels. The use of the song "Happy Together" isn't as good as the use of "Only You" in Fallen Angels, but then again, what is?

I'm having trouble saying much else about that. The technicality of this film is very good. Great in all honesty. But my overall feelings with this film mainly lie in my own emotions. How it's making me truly feel. I'm almost speechless. I mean, I've been able to type all of this so far. But I know already that it's just a mess. So, from here on out, I'm gonna get pretty personal. If you don't want to read any further, then you don't have to. If you're gonna keep going, you've been warned.

[This section of the review I have decided to redact because I no longer feel like it needs to be public. Just know that I’m doing alright as a person, and this is now one of my favorite movies of all-time.]

When I was talking with another friend of mine, my good pal Perry, I was debating what rating I should give this. I was thinking a 9 based on my feelings towards the technical aspects. The actual movie of the movie. But because of how this film is making me feel deep down, I feel as though anything less than a 10 would be demeaning. So, he said I should go with the 10. He said that it's not too often you come across films that make you feel this way. This kind of film, for better or worse, is special. After sitting on it myself, I couldn't help but agree. This is in some sort of way the hardest film I've ever had to watch. There are other films with far more disturbing subject matter of course. But nothing has never really connected with me as much as this has. The connection isn't good, but it's still a connection.

I don't think I'm going to forget this anytime soon. It'll be hard to forget just wanting to dance. Or wanting to lay with one another. Or when you want to say what your sorrows are, but you can't help but just break down and sob. So, if you've somehow made it through this giant heap of word vomit, I want to say from the bottom of my heart...

Thank you.

This will probably be the most personal thing I'll write on this site. I understand this isn't much of a review. But I needed to release these feelings instead of bottling them up. I don't want to think about what could've happened if I did that instead. I'll be coming back to this eventually. I don't know when, but eventually. So far, Wong's films really feel like something else. Art that transcends art. It's just life.


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