Ma Wing Jing and his older brother Ma Tai Chueng arrive in Shanghai to make their fortune at the end of the Qin Dynasty. Be-friending a powerful mobster (Tam Sei) Wing Jing is given his ... See full summary »
Hong Kong heartthrob Takeshi Kanehiro plays an angel with a broken wing in this bizarre romance directed by Ip Kam-Hung. He lands in the garden of Athena, a heartbroken young woman who has given up on love after the death of her previous lover. She works as an aromatherapy instructor by day and cries into her exclusive diet of ramen noodle soup by night, sending helium balloons into the sky in hopes that they reach her deceased lover in heaven.
Her unwelcoming persona turns off 'Angel' so he spends most of his time hanging out with her neighbor, Chow Chow, a flamboyant homosexual played entertainingly by Eason Chan. Although Angel assures Chow Chow that in heaven all love is treated equally, the pathetic manner in which the Chow Chow character is portrayed hardly makes 'Lavender' a film that deserves praise for positive gay representation.
Director Ip treats the audience to endless shots of Kanehiro's pretty face and body, and I must admit that he does a good job at seeming really angelic. But the main plot involves Angel's attempts at helping Athena to break out of her love funk. The problem is that much of this part was very corny and cliched, and Kelly Chan's constant crying and annoying tantrums made sympathizing with her character a bit difficult. I'm not sure it was her fault, because the script didn't leave her much to work with.
The most redeeming performances came from Eason Chan as Chow Chow and a small role for Cheng Pei-Pei (who played the evil Jade Fox in 'Crouching Tiger') as an aging woman trying desperately to hold on to her youth.
The actual main plot, involving the relationship between Angel and Athena just got to be a bit too sentimental and cliched in parts, and even downright corny in others. For example, Angel develops some strange fascination with shoes (I still don't know why) and when Athena throws his favorite pair of shoes away Angel embarks on a mission to find those shoes at any cost, in the middle of a monsoon. I think this illogical part of the plot was simply thrown in to allow for a cliched reuniting in the rain.
But by far the strangest moment in the film is when Athena comes face to face with a big black bull standing in an open field next to a tree full of balloons. Once again her tears (of joy?) start flowing as she realizes that the bull is the reincarnation of her dead lover (no, I'm not kidding). During this very touching moment layered in sentimental music, I honestly could not control myself from bursting out into out-loud laughter. The problem is that it wasn't supposed to be funny. (5 out of 10)
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