One of 1999ís only high-profile films, this well-pedigreed
romantic drama features photogenic stars, an interesting story,
and a lauded director. And yet it still feels somewhat lacking.
Sylvia Chang plays Cheryl, a film
director who enlists the aid of a screenwriter (William So)
to write a story about young love. Itís actually an autobiographical
tale about young Sheo-Rou (Gigi Leung) and her love with Ho-Jun
(Takeshi). The two meet when sheís in high school and heís
in that high school/college netherworld where you sit around
and strum your guitar while not thinking about the future.
The two hit it off but the whole thing gets shafted when Sheo-Rouís
possessive mother (Elaine Kam) discovers that the two spent
a night in a hotel. Their starry-eyed romance comes crashing
down and they must part. Complicating matters is Karen Mok
as Chan Yi, whoís the official third point of the love triangle
- in more ways than one. See the film to understand what Iím
There are some really wonderful scenes
in this movie, as well as a fascinating exploration of each
particular characterís role in this star-crossed love triangle.
As the film progresses, we see more than just Cherylís point
of view and the results prove to be logical and affecting.
However, the effect is also a bit calculated. The framing
sequence of the present versus the past is done in an overly
self-conscious style. Having Sylvia Chang and William So discuss
the film as we watch it is a bit distancing. Itís hard to
be drawn into something when youíre always being told exactly
On the plus side, the actors are
well-cast. The suddenly hot-in-Asia Takeshi Kaneshiro has
all the natural charisma necessary for his role, and Gigi
Leung surprises in her first truly adult role. Karen Mok is
effective as well, but has less to do than her co-stars.
is a well-produced, insightful drama that only fails in its
ability to create any lasting resonance. The story is such
a microcosm of youth that it doesnít feel like it means all
that much. Perhaps the closest comparison to Tempting Heart would be last yearís City of Glass. Both are well-mounted,
affecting, but ultimately somewhat distant. (Kozo