Thursday, September 29, 2011

2011 MFF Film #16 - Don't Go Breaking My Heart

Hong Kong/China, 2010
Cantonese/Mandarin/English with English subtitles
Director: Johnnie To

A young woman, who went through a painful breakup with her boyfriend meets an unemployed architect on the street, and the two click instantly; he inspires her to move on with her life, she inspires him to stop drinking and start designing again.  After an amazing night out on the town together, the two vow to meet up in a week when he will show her his drawings.  In the meantime, her new found confidence leads her to start flirting with the businessman in the office building across from hers - they do things through the window to make each other laugh, he draws pictures with post-it notes and puts them up on his window for her, etc.  This sparks a love triangle between the woman, the businessman and the architect that spans three years, until she finally has to decide who she wants to be with.

Don't Go Breaking My Heart is a lovely film that is romantic and utterly charming.  Johnnie To, whose last film, Vengeance, was a violent revenge flick, surprised me with his obvious versatility.  Don't Go Breaking My Heart is really funny and the characters (even the slick businessman) are all very likable.  There are a lot of "awww" moments without the film going off the deep end into the saccharine pool.  The film is not all about puppies and rainbows, however.  There is pain and heartbreak, and some difficult moments, and it is so easy to relate to these characters that you become emotionally invested in what happens to them. 

I had the choice of seeing this film or another screening playing at the same time at the Milwaukee Film Festival this year and something just kept drawing me to wanting to see this one, and I think I made a great choice.  I loved Don't Go Breaking My Heart, and unfortunately can't express why as much as I would like to because there are things about the plot that shouldn't be revealed so I can't give too much away.  Trust me on this:  it's an excellent movie and if you're looking for a sweet, complicated film that is still incredibly romantic, Don't Go Breaking My Heart is your film.

MFF Ballot Rating: 5 out of 5

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