Leaving Me Loving You - Murmuring a "Cliche" Story

Wilson Yip's new film Leaving Me Loving You may be clichéd, but it is an enjoyable, pleasing cliché.

Consolidated the reviews, Leaving Me Loving You has a glamorous Shanghai, flamboyant fireworks, but a flat story, blank characters and a predictable ending. Still, I find it to be the best Wilson Yip film since he turned to making commercial films. There is no black humour, but it has delicate touches.

Leaving Me Loving You is clichéd, and it is true. It is hard to imagine that when melodramas rule the cinema, there are still directors who want to tell a story with "a trivial thing". And the story is told in elegant Putonghua. The lovers split up and then bump into each other, interspersing with parking-ticket issuing policewoman and nostalgic sick old man who quite literally cautions over-hastiness in a relationship and cherishing your love. Such views on love are clichés indeed, yet their ordinariness and triviality make them fun and real. Leaving me Loving You looks at love through trivial things, and thus unassuming.

The film starts off with the two leading characters on the verge of breaking up. They gaze at each other over the restaurant window, of which the closed window serves as a recurring motif. The two characters time and again lose in thoughts against a window, or look at afar. The ride in Xintiande, the glass wall recalls happy memories. The birthday planning in Jinmao Plaza Hotel, a circular window suddenly appears on the glass wall and the two main characters stand side-by-side watching the fireworks test. It seems to foretell the rejuvenation of love. When the storm threatens to blow off Faye Wong's windows and door, Leon Lai goes over to help her fix it, which is another sign of things on the mend. Then there are the reminiscences of a sick old man, and the camera peeks into the window of his old frame. In the last twenty minutes, Faye and Leon respectively look outside an opened window, as if ready for a new start. They finally make up, and we see it through the hotel window. With the fireworks as backdrop, they finally embrace each other. From firmly closed to fully opening up high, the windows bear witness to the breaking up and patching up of a relationship. It is such details that make this film engaging.

Yes, Leaving Me Loving You may really be guilty of blankness despite its glamour. The story, after all, is simple. But we have to accept the fact that it is about "a trivial thing". It takes a great deal to make "a trivial thing" interesting. I dare not say the story and the direction go hand and glove. But it is some feat to make an interesting story out of daily lives, and with clever touches.

By Chan Ka Ming

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