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Tempting Heart
|     review    |     awards     |     availability     |
Gigi Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro
Chinese: 心動
Year: 1999
Director: Sylvia Chang
Producer: Jackie Chan
Cast: Takeshi Kaneshiro, Gigi Leung Wing-Kei, Karen Mok Man-Wai, Sylvia Chang, William So Wing-Hong, Elaine Kam Yin-Ling, Leon Dai, Cher Yeung Suet-Yi, Jo Koo
The Skinny: Intelligent romantic drama that has fine acting but a pretentious edge that makes it less affecting than it could be.
 
Review
by Kozo:

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 talking about. 

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 what happened. 

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.

This 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 1999)

 
Awards:

19th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Winner - Best Screenplay (Sylvia Chang, Cat Kwan Ho-Ming)
• Winner - Best Art Direction (Man Lim-Chung)
• Nomination - Best Director (Sylvia Chang)
• Nomination - Best Actress (Gigi Leung Wing-Kei)
• Nomination - Best Supporting Actress (Elaine Kam Yin-Ling)
• Nomination - Best Costume Design (Yee Chung-Man)
6th Annual Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards
• Recommended Film

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Mega Star (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandrain Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd.

   
 
 
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