Juliet In Love
MEI AH
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Wilson Yip
Year:
2000
Run Time:
90 mins
Producer: Mei Ah
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Languages:
CANTONESE 5.1, Mandarin 5.1
Subtitles:
English, Cantonese (S&T)
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
Region:
PAL 0
Genre:
Drama/Romance - IIB
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MOVIE
8/10

After having her husband leave following her mastectomy, Judy (Sandra Ng) takes up residence with her somewhat senile Grandfather.
A rather barren and uneventful life is soon brightened upon the arrival of small-time hood Jordan, played by Francis Ng.
Following a number of scrapes with local triad boss NT On, Jordan finds himself in the unique position of being able to halve his debt by caring for NT's illegitimate 6-month old child.
Having barely grown up himself, Jordan is paired with the far more responsible Judy, and as their love for the child blossoms, so do their feelings for each other.

What appears to be an uplifting romantic drama, then turns to something far more serious as the film's final act draws near. Not wanting to sound like a wet blanket, but what the hell, the tragic end to the film reversed some of my hugely positive feelings towards the production.
However, on further viewing these feelings lessened, and I came to appreciate some of the film's subtler aspects, but I wasn't able to fully shake my initial disappointment.


Looking at the positive aspects, the two leads are quite superb as they go about fleshing-out their differing characters.
Once again, Francis Ng provides a magnetic, nuanced performance, whilst also making his character warm and human. Ng is fast becoming one of my favourite performers, as unlike many Hong Kong actors, he seems willing to undertake an eclectic range of roles, rather than being content with typecasting.
It becomes perfectly evident that Jordan's natural affinity with children stems from the fact that he's yet to grow up himself. Francis Ng manages to show this, and great range of emotions, with a single glance, and the camera is often left to focus on his expressive eyes. Jordan is also far from one dimensional, thanks to Ng's ability to convey more than his sparse dialogue would allow under a less able actor.

Sandra Ng is also hugely impressive as Judy - a woman who has been heartbroken, let down and unappreciated, and now expects nothing from her life.
Fortunately, Jordan's tragic childhood, and upbeat personality persuade Judy that she is not unique in having lived a hard life, and that better things are still to come...

The supporting cast, including Judy's Coca-Cola addicted Grandfather, are also clearly defined characters, with important parts to play in this quality production.

Musically, the film also excels, with some simple yet elegant pieces featuring throughout.
The only somewhat disappointing inclusion is the Cantopop number used halfway through. It's a rather insipid track, which adds nothing to the scene.

Director Wilson Yip manages to direct with an assured ease, and whilst not going overboard, is happy to include flourishes which add to this moving tale.

PICTURE
7/10

A highly detailed, and impressively coloured transfer is provided by Mei-Ah.
The artifacting so often noticeable on many of their previous discs, has been drastically reduced, leaving an altogether more professional presentation.
Black levels are surprisingly solid, although shadow detail appears to be rather muted.

The one factor which reduces the picture's rating is that (strangely for such a recent film) certain parts of the print look rather drab and are marked with dust and sparkles.

SOUND
7/10

The film's original Surround-sound soundtrack is provided alongside Mei-Ah's 5.1 remix, and both sound very good.
A louder, and more solid sound is produced by the original soundtrack, but it lacks some of the more obvious directional effects exhibited on the remix.
Dialogue is mostly clear and hiss-free, although some of the musical instruments used to score the film can occasionally sound shrill.

SUBTITLES
7/10

A number of grammatical and spelling errors find their way into the otherwise high-quality subs.
Very little of the dialogue is simplified, although the white font's extremely thin black border can sometimes cause problems, particularly when placed against light-coloured backgrounds.

EXTRAS
2/10

Theatrical Trailer.
Cast and Crew listing.
Peace Hotel trailer.

CONCLUSION
7/10

I won't lie and say that this 2000 production is a total triumph, as I still feel its downbeat conclusion was rather unnecessary, but neither will I be so narrow-minded as to suggest that this ruins an otherwise exceptionally acted, and genuinely moving, film.
The low price for which this DVD can be picked up,
and Mei-Ah's nicely handled transfer, leaves little reason to pass it up...so don't!

MOVIE 8/10
PICTURE
7/10
SOUND
7/10
SUBTITLES
7/10
EXTRAS
2/10
MENUS
3/10
PACKAGING
4/10
OVERALL 7/10