Chris’s review published on Letterboxd:
What a spellbinding rumination on loneliness, heartache, romantic yearning and love forever unexpressed. A depiction of two people who aren't drawn together through sudden adoration, but through a like-minded frustration of being incapable of finding the type of love that they so clearly desire. Intimate in their shared struggle to comprehend the betrayal of those they thought so dearly of, building a connection by recreating how they believe their partners did but never acting upon the same impulses. Even as their relationship develops it can't shake the feeling that it is ultimately doomed by their unresolved sadness and the societal structures of the time. Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung are fantastic in the lead roles, both able to deftly convey the difficult emotions with the simplest expression or movement.
It's a fascinating change in style for Wong Kar-wai when compared to his works prior; elegiac elegance over frenzied energy, flowing gracefulness over unorthodox editing, unhurried pensiveness over ardent urgency and characters who are reserved instead of eccentric. It's very measuredly paced and lingers on feelings unspoken, maybe to a fault at points, which creates this absorbing atmosphere where you simply let the images wash over you. It's another film where you could hang most of the frames on your wall because it's a stunning looking piece, everything from the use of colour to the costumes to the striking shot compositions are a feast for the eyes. The music is also wonderful as I can't think of a track which captures the mood crafted better than Yumeji's Theme which reoccurs throughout.
That final scene I cannot commend enough. The way Wong portrays the idea of an eternal secret through the gorgeous imagery and poignant melody is simply masterful. It's a truly haunting ending.