Publicity Stills of "All About Love"
(Courtesy from Shaw)

Genre: Romance/Drama
Director: Daniel Yu
Starring: Andy Lau, Charlie Young, Charlene Choi, Anthony Wong, Lam Suet
RunTime: -
Released By: Shaw & Mediacorp Raintree Pictures
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 27 October 2005


An intriguing tale of love and lost and the memories that bind us: Andy Lau play two very distinct characters both connected by accidents and chance encounters. Ko is a paramedic working with the ambulance team when he used to be a successful doctor. His wife died a few years ago from a car crash and he feels guilty about her death so he now leads a routine life of working at very fixed hours so that he can spend time with his family and friends.

One day, Ko saves Yuen-Sam who had an accident and starts to take an interest in her life and discovers that not only has her husband, Derek, went missing a few years back, she is also suffering from a terminal illness. Derek, was a famous stylist, who was actively pursued by a supermodel, seeking an affair with him. The affair strained his marriage with Yuen-Sam and after one big argument; he left without a word.

Yuen-Sam, tells Ko that her dying wish is to spend some happy times with Derek. Ko agrees to help and in his quest, he discovers that Derek actually looks very much like himself...

The tone of the film is driven by beautiful people, heartbreaking exchanges, and flawed characters. We learn to treasure the people we love.

Movie Review:

How easily a movie connects with the audience, will depend on its source material, where it is drawn from, and how accessible it is. Romance films might have a perceived advantage, as the notion of romantic love would probably have been experienced by many, but herein lies the tendency to get sloppy with the delivery.

Fortunately, All About Love delivered where it matters, and keeping the story simple, yet
sophisticated with various plot devices. It explores a central idea in relationships, of taking things and your partner for granted. Yes, hands up those who are guilty of this from time to time. You'll never truly feel the loss of something, until it's gone, and this notion resonates through two of the three main leads.

Andy Lau fans are probably celebrating the return of their idol with 2 films in a month, the previous release being Wait Til You're Older. In this movie, Lau plays Lok, a doctor who's leading a happily married life with wife ZiQing. However, with a promising career as a medical doctor, he starts to break engagements and postpones spending quality time with his wife. His life is focused on work, and hence punctuality, and time, does not matter to him.

But the wife, played by Charlene Choi, still is able to tolerate his no-shows (ain't love grand?), keeping a diary of the number of times he has cancelled their appointments, so that Lok could make up for them. On one of the fateful nights while waiting for him to keep his appointment, she meets with a fatal accident and got her heart transplanted thereafter. Choi's cutesy performance might not go down well with many, and the age gap between her and Lau is so obvious in the show, you might think that Lok's a cradle snatcher.

Ridden with guilt, Lok becomes a paramedic on an ambulance, saving lives, given his tremendous loss. He becomes conscious of time, and makes an about turn in character. Here, Lau's acting skills shine through, as a man tormented by the feeling of loss, a loss that he had control over and could have prevented. He also takes on a secondary character Derek, whose wife is the recipient of ZiQing's heart.

Played by Charlie Young, Yuen Sam is a frail woman who got a transplanted heart. However, make no mistake, a lesser story and major pitfall would be to have ZiQing emote through Yuen Sam. It does not, which makes it different. Lok chances upon Yuen Sam when she met with an accident, and discovered, through Fate, that she is the recipient of his wife's heart. Yuen Sam is married to Derek, but always feel insecure - Derek is in the fashion industry and is always surrounded by beautiful women. She knows that given her medical condition, she will leave the mortal world soon, and is reluctant to see her husband unhappily taking care of her.

Quite naively, she drives Derek away by playing up her insecurity, but misses him the moment he leaves. Her condition gets no better, as she battles her illness and her regret. Her story at times contrasts and parallels with Lok's, and is being told mostly in retrospect as Lok tries to discover if there was any hint of ZiQing in Yuen Sam. The movie does attempt to hint that a part of someone goes along with the organ transplanted, but thankfully, it does not succumb to predictability. Young does a decent job in her role, which calls for crying bucketloads of tears.

The movie is told in 3 acts, with time juxtaposed using flashbacks which frankly, worked in the favour of keeping the plot interesting. The first act focuses on Lok and ZiQing, the second act looks at Yuen Sam and Derek, while the last is an attempt on redemption for Lok as he tries to make up for lost time, and lost opportunities, by giving Yuen Sam what could have been for ZiQing.

Despite being a romance, this movie contains some pretty nifty special effects, and effective transitions. One of my favourites was the usage of a single living room set, transforming it to different styles to reflect the past and present, and showing the progression in lives and the love between ZiQing and Lok, until the fateful day. I didn't expect to see this technique being used, and it summarizes succinctly the entire first act.

It's been some time since there was a decent mainstream romance tragedy from Hong Kong, without any hint of comedic moments, but filled with enough mood and melodrama to rival counterpart productions from Korea and Japan. Give this film the chance it deserves, just as the character Lok getting the chance he has to redeem himself.

Movie Rating:

(An old fashioned romance tear-jerker on loss, regret and redemption, done to precision)

Review by Stefan Shih


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