Quick-Thoughts: Wong Kar-wai’s Happy Together (1997)

Looks like Wong Kar-wai got a little overexcited about the saturation settings this time. Still, what a fine-looking movie this is. 

Wong Kar-wai goes to Argentina in his 1997 feature-length Happy Together: a bypass into a toxic relationship swamped with characters who ache for foreign waters; it’s a phenomenon that qualifies well beyond “the movies to dare not watch with your partner” category, so it certainly ranks up there with some of my favorite romantic pictures that gain to depress—Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine being an appropriate example of this.

Although I found some of Kar-wai’s newly embraced narration—used as a gesture in explaining this movie’s habit of time-jumping—to be a sign of weakness compared with some of his other projects, there’s no doubt that this is another visually suasive entry under the director’s belt. You want to see these characters dig themselves out of the dirt, into new territory that’ll finally raise them out of dead-end burdens. Oh, how love chooses to never leave you, like a curse. 

Verdict Change: B+ –> A-

More of a Feeling Than a Story (Ranked List)

“Happy Together” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

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