Sherwin Yu’s review published on Letterboxd:
“I didn’t expect it to hurt so much.”
When I first watched this film when I was 14, I thought it was more visually stunning than anything else—five years later, I sit here on my bed at 5am restless and dejected because I finally understand Wong Kar-Wai’s story of tragedy. Through fate, Chow and Su’s lives have become intertwined. They make promises to each other, unknowing of the fact that these promises will become broken and serve as precursors to their own future disappointments. They find a sense of home in each other’s company; their martial arts serials become their passion project and source of liberation from the mundane reality they exist in. But in the end, they both know that this union is tainted. Society will not approve. Their landlords will not approve. Even they deep down believe that they are simply leftover remnants attempting to reconcile their past failed marriages. They each become the missing part of the life they had envisioned for themselves, but despite this, they are too afraid to make the leap. When they do realize this, however, the timing is no longer right. That is the beauty and tragedy of life; time is ephemeral, much like all of our experiences and memories. We can only access them upon recollection, by way of flashback as opposed to reliving them. Tony and Maggie show so much restraint and pain in their performances, and I find myself fearing for my own future. What if I let it all go by, and not pay enough attention to do something? Wong Kar-Wai condensed the regret of a lifetime into 100 minutes and I am a victim of his beautifully tragic vision.