All About Love
Rialto Cinemas, Newmarket
Rating: M – Drug use and violence., 95 mins
Buy Tickets here
Starring: Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu, Vivian Chow Wai-Man, Eddie Cheung Siu-Fai, William Chan Wai-Ting, Joey Man Yi-Man, Jo Koo, Eman Lam Yi-Man, Fan Yik-Man, Conroy Chan Chi-Chung, Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Queenie Chu, Abe Kwong Man-Wai, Petrina Fung Bo-Bo, Tina Lau Tin-Lau
Director: Ann Hui On-Wah許鞍華
Directed by Ann Hui (許鞍華), one of Hong Kong’s New Wave filmmakers, “All About Love” (得閒炒飯) opened this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival (香港國際電影節). The film is based on an original premise and the storyline though complicated is, for the most part, held together by a tight, well-written script. The film tells the story of two middle-aged women and long lost lovers who reconnect after they discover they’re both pregnant and both going to be single mothers. However, this film is by no means a film about sisterhood or the joys of motherhood.
Anita, played by Vivian Chow (周慧敏), is a high-flying banker who meets hook-ups online and becomes pregnant with a 19-year-old one night stand. On the other hand, Macy, played by Sandra Ng (吳君如), is an attorney defending a man accused of domestic violence by his wife. Macy ends up giving him marriage counseling and sex advice and after a drunken night with him she too becomes pregnant.
The two mothers-to-be haven’t seen each other in the past 12 years but rekindle their friendship after a chance encounter at a “Mother’s Choice” meeting.
The twist is that both Anita and Macy are bisexual women who were once in a relationship and whilst sharing pregnancy stories the two women find themselves falling back in love. However, Macy is unsure whether she wants to keep her child and can’t commit whereas the two unwitting fathers are determined to be there no matter how unwelcome they are.
Presented with challenging roles, Sandra Ng and Vivian Chow both deliver convincing performances and there is a palpable chemistry between the two female leads — it’s astonishing to think this is Vivian’s comeback after a 15-year hiatus. It is the strength of the acting and the director’s realist style that make the film’s at times farfetched plot feel believable.
The humor is subtle and lies in the delivery of well-timed lines rather than slapstick, which is mature for a Chinese-language comedy. Furthermore, the gay relationships in the film are treated sympathetically and their sexuality isn’t at any point the source of the film’s humor.
“All About Love,” however, is not without its flaws. By the second half, the film started to feel labored. Macy’s ex and her partner, who weren’t necessary characters in the first place, become too involved in the storyline and the script starts to become heavy-handed, eventually settling for a rather unimaginative ending. The film is also intercut with short animated sequences, which again feel unnecessary and seem to be forgotten half way in.