Tempting Heart (1999)

Genres - Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |   Run Time - 115 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Renowned actor/director Sylvia Chang created this richly layered film about memory, regret, and lost love. The film opens as successful filmmaker Cheryl (Chang) discusses a script idea about young love with a young screenwriter. She pitches a story about Shao-rou (Gigi Leung) a beautiful though clumsy schoolgirl who falls for a quiet, guitar-playing young man named Ho-chuen (Takeshi Kaneshiro). They develop a deep and enduring passion in spite of meddling parents, jealous friends, and their own naïveté. Yet when they are caught stealing away for a night at far-off Lantau Island, they face the wrath of Shao-rou's mother. The strain proves too much and they tearfully break up. Shao-rou's best friend Li (Karen Mok) responds to the news by offering both emotional sympathy and a bungled attempt at physical affection. The already distraught teen flees, ending their long friendship. Later, when Hou-chuen and Shao-rou meet by happenstance in Tokyo, they quickly realize that time has not altered their feelings for each other. She has become a successful fashion designer while he has become a less-than-successful tour guide. The twist comes when we learn not just that Hou-chuen is married but also who his wife turned out to be. As Cheryl describes the affair, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell if she is outlining a storyline or reminiscing about an old flame. Leung and Kaneshiro, one of Asia's biggest heartthrobs, give sensitive and charismatic performances as both awkward teenagers and world-weary adults. Chang employs a complex narrative structure of flashbacks and flashforwards to tell this beautifully wrought, quietly touching story. This film was screened at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival.



forbidden-love, memory, regret, mother, fashion-designer, film-director, wife