Turn Left, Turn Right

Reviewed by: sunkissedtomatoes

September 10, 2004

Rating: five

The Gist:

A couple met thirteen years ago at a park on a school trip. The guy (Takeshi Kaneshiro) fell in love with the girl (Gigi Leung) and followed her around the playground. He would ride the merry-go-round with her (sitting a few horses behind her) and help rescue her notes when they fell into the pond. Gigi fell in love with the shy boy and asked for his number on the train ride home. Unfortunately, being the absent-minded person she was, she forgot to take her bag with her when she left the train. Both remember one another only by the numbers on their school uniforms and carry the memories of their day at the park for thirteen years.

It is also thirteen years later that they meet at the same pond, one a struggling violin player (Takeshi), the other a translator who translates Polish novels and poems into Mandarin. He once again rescues her notes from the pond. They start talking, in the process realizing that they had been carrying a torch for each other for the past thirteen years. Unfortunately, various events – one “heaven or fate”, the other man-made - conspired to keep them apart. They carry with them the hope that they can meet once more and are willing to wait another thirteen years before they meet again. So do they meet again?


The movie started off weird, as if the director could not decide if he wanted to follow the comics. I believe the idea of this movie came from a comic book. The director tried to make scenes funny by using computer graphics to turn human characters into cartoon characters. It somehow did not fit in with the movie.

The Good:

Thankfully, the director decided not to carry on with the ”cartoon characters” and chose instead to focus on the serious aspect of finding love.

This movie is about love. The storyline is the tried and true formula of love found, lost and then discovered again. It brings to mind the questions one has with regard to love. Is it considered true love or puppy love when you fall in love as teenagers? Is your first love always the hardest to forget? Does love at first sight exist? Will you settle for someone who would make a suitable companion or will you wait for your one true soulmate? Does true love exist? If yes, would true love last? If you miss the chance at love, would that chance come knocking on your door again? When you genuinely love someone, who may or may not return your love, would you want the other person to be happy? The movie answers those questions and so much more. Going through the anguish that Takeshi and Gigi experience is worth gaining true love. (Hey! Even heaven agrees! Heaven finally lends a helping hand in the end).

The use of props to signify elements of their love was just amazing. The movie begins with them each holding a different coloured umbrella waiting in the rain for the traffic light to change. The show ends with the different coloured umbrellas leaning on one another. How lovely is that? The second time they meet is at the very same pond they first met when they were kids. Even the exchanging of phone numbers is written down like the previous time. I mean in today’s modern context, I think anyone would whip out their mobile phones to store it in the SIM card! After that, the pond gets emptied when the park is closed (when they once again lose contact with one another). The horses on the merry-go-round they sat on before are discarded in a field. The pond and horse represent their love, that there is no hope and they should be discarded or emptied. Yet both Takeshi and Gigi cart home the horses and lovingly wash them. The scene where Takeshi’s rival (for Gigi’s affection) gets a private detective to follow Gigi and discovers in the photos that Takeshi and Gigi are always, always just seconds away from one another.

Character Performances:

Among the four lead actors, Takeshi is just astonishing. The way he shows his anguish is simply amazing. Then there is the “blur” look he has when he does not understand how to cater his artistic talents to the materialistic world. I am positive he should insure his eyes. Those eyes of his really show his talents... especially when portraying his anguish! They have a hunted look that just sends shivers down one’s spine. Even my mom (who thinks watching movies is a waste of time) sat down and watched. She too admitted he was good. Do watch for his eyes when watching this show.

Gigi - I was a little disappointed in her. I felt that she did not really match the intensity of emotions required for this role. But my mom was quick to point out that no one else in the entertainment business had the same lanky look as Takeshi and I must admit they look good together as a couple. But her acting does get better towards the end of the movie, when they realize how close they are and start running through the streets calling for each another.

As for the other two leads, I felt that their acting was way too overboard and forced. But I guess that was the only way to show that their characters were unsuitable either for Takeshi or Gigi even though they love them. If taken this way, I guess you can say they did an admirable job portraying detestable characters. I would grind my teeth whenever these two characters appear in the movie.

Favourite Scenes:

There are so many.

1. The beginning and ending. See the props explanation about the umbrellas.
2. The emptying of the pond while each stands at one corner and stares so sadly.
3. The two carrying home the discarded horses and washing them lovingly.
4. Takeshi’s explanation of love.
5. Gigi’s rejection of love (not to Takeshi, the doctor)
6. Seeing the photos where Takeshi and Gigi are never far apart.
7. Their anguish - “It’s like I have lost my shadow” - when they see the photos.
8. Takeshi’s violin recitation because of Gigi
9. Gigi’s translation of a love poem because of Takeshi.
10. Their calling each other (without knowing it's one another) and leaving a message on the answering machine.
11. Screaming while running through the streets looking for each another.

To Watch or Not to Watch:

One word: Yes!!

Okay, more than one word. I seldom cry at movies, but this is one of them. After the movie, I had so many questions which made me sit down and ponder about the film. That is what I find interesting in a movie, something that makes you think after the movie (not something that you watch and forget once you step out of the cinema). A very moving and poignant love movie.

Just one more word, do avoid if you cannot stand romance stories.

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