A Nutshell Review: Things We Do When We Fall in Love
The second part of James Lee's love trilogy, Things We Do When We Fall in Love is more of the same. If you're frustrated with the presentation of the first, then my advice is not to bother with the second, even though the stories are not linked. For me, I thought the colour made it slightly more bearable, but if you're not a fan of his auteur minimalist style, then you're likely to have impatience get to you.
There are many shots and situations which just are, without much incident, and totally up to you to interpret. Inside the car, in a motel, dancing on a quiet street in the dead of the night, walking around in a padi field, the list goes on. It is likely that there are deeper meanings to be studied from, but the shaky hand-held camera gives you a wild spin, often following from behind the characters, or peering from behind inanimate objects. They eat, sleep and talk about the most mundane things. It's not a romantic film per se as the title would have you suggest, but rather a very unromantic one dealing with the ordinary, stemming from insecurity, and the constant craving to be wanted.
I thought there was a little hope for me to enjoy this movie when the introductory scene before the opening title showed flashes of things to come, of some comedy infused in its dialogue, but that was not to be. Instead, it went back to dialogue that was slow, non- purposeful, and excruciatingly repetitive, especially the cries for acceptance and the pleas to be understood, which get on your nerves. The constant arguments between the couple, ever so often, makes you wonder when they'll eventually part for good.
It tells of the relationship between a man and a woman. One's a computer programmer, the other a teacher. They decide to take a trip around nearby, and spend much time driving around, from which we follow like a "lamppost" at the back of their seats, watching silently as they eat, quarrel, and sing. We spend quite some time on the road, before we decide to end up in a motel, for more of the same. I thought Loh Bok Lai was decent in his role as the all suffering man who cannot seem to appease his lady love (or so we think), and Len Siew Mee, showed a different perspective with her female character here, compared to her love-them- and-leave-them Ling Yue in her previous movie. Here, her clingy character just gets to you and frustrates.
And following them won't be bad if not for the NYPD Blues styled camera-work. If you're one who suffer from motion sickness, bring a bag along. The story develops at a peculiar pace, and in the end, a hastily thrown epilogue of sorts is included, which I thought would have been unnecessary, if not just to show that pair of mammaries in a pool.
Despite the complaints, will I watch the concluding movie? For sure, given that I want to complete the trilogy, and that I'm such a sucker for pain.
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