Wednesday, October 22, 2014

[Review] Lilting

Lilting, the sluggish debut feature of writer/director Hong Khao, explores grief in the face of language barriers and differences in ideals--to a painfully underwhelming extent. It gives off the impression that it would work better on paper, literally, as a 10-12 page short story.

Junn (Pei-Pei Cheng) lives in an assisted-living home, and she's a mother mourning the loss of her son, Kai. Richard (Ben Winshaw) is Kai's tearful former boyfriend. He attempts to reach out to Junn in order to ensure her well-being, as well as bond through the coping of their loss, but Junn despises him and refuses any insight that he has to offer. The film revolves around the two coming to terms with each other, and it also examines their exclusive relationships with Kai through a series of bland flashbacks.

The intimate plot holds just a few characters and mostly takes place within a couple of rooms. Pei-Pei Cheng greatly plays her complex role as the story's lead anchor, especially through telling facial expressions. Everyone else here is a complete and utter bore.

Lilting is a character study with some noble intentions and inherently interesting conflicts, but its monochromatic mood and stifling pace makes this a major drag (even considering that its run-time is only 80 minutes), to the point where you start thinking that the title should be called Wilting.


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