4 stars out of 5
The Stars: Sandra Ng, Vivian Chow, Eddie Cheung, William Chan, Joey Meng, Jo Koo
The Story: Former lovers Macy (Ng) and Anita (Chow) find themselves each with child after their respective one night stands with a married client (Cheung) and a younger man (Chan). In a twist of fate, the pair meet unexpectedly at a pregnancy seminar and it doesn’t take long for old sparks to be re-ignited.
Amidst figuring out their feelings for one another and impending work place discrimination, Macy contemplates letting good friend, Eleanor (Meng) and her life-partner Wai (Koo) adopt her baby, while she and Anita raise the other child together. But things get knotty when the biological fathers discover their plans and insist on being part of this unconventional, extended family.
The Buzz: Yeung Yee Shan pens a script reminiscent of her earlier works on Herman Yau’s Whispers and Moans and True Women for Sale. Directed by critically acclaimed Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui, All About Love also marks Chow’s first feature project appearance in almost 15 years.
inSing.com thinks: It’s tempting to dismiss this film as just an Asian knock-off of The Kids Are All Right; granted both plots track the quirks of homosexual couples raising a family together. Although upon astute inspection, All About Love is really all about the snappy, robust dialogue. Yeung’s script, in spite of being ostensibly didactic, is also refreshing and brutally honest. From political agendas, to hotly-debated social and sexual issues, no topic seems too contentious to discuss, and Hui’s directorial liveliness topped with a talented cast truly make these conversations sparkle.
Ng throws off her goofball ensemble (for the most part) and delights as the fun-loving yet skeptical Macy, while Chow still looks like she hasn’t aged a day since her Cantopop princess days. Sadly, when attempting to flesh out deeper sides of Anita, her acting doesn’t appear to have matured much either. Yet when paired with an effervescent Ng, their exchanges are charming to watch. Cheung and Chan are immensely enjoyable as the bumbling fathers-to-be. In particular the latter, and despite his consistent teeny bopper status, displays remarkable sensitivity as the inexperienced, younger Mike.
The movie kicks off with a lot of exposition and glimpses at some familiar locations in Hong Kong all cinematographically pimped up - certainly a welcome change from the usual grittiness we’ve been exposed to ad nauseam. Hui also experiments with little inserts of animation to narrate Macy and Anita’s adolescent infatuation, which instead of looking gimmicky works surprisingly well with the flavour and nature of their story.
All About Love proves that Asian films are able to intelligently handle and approach stories with a more gender polemic slant. But more importantly, it fuels food for thought on the ever changing face of the modern family.