߰ (1999)
Tempting Heart

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 06/17/2007
Summary: soppy love story, what do you expect!!

I have had this vcd for many years now, like milesC i will watch anything that is hong kong made but this is not the usual genre i watch.

The first half was what i expected, conventional, nothing special occuring. The 2nd half kicks your emotions into gear, with a extremely moving ending, which is predictable yet you cant help but but reflect on your own life. Maybe this is why i put off watching this movie, i hate it when tears comes to my eyes!!

A movie which says life is too short, love is love. Sometimes the right things to do in your life are not neccessarily what your heart says.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: David Harris
Date: 06/09/2000

Review courtesy of Hong Kong Superstars (www.hksmag.co.uk)

"Tempting Heart" is one of Media Asia's latest productions (a co-production in this case with Japan's Toho-Towa) but is a world away from their other recent hits "Gen-X Cops" & "Purple Storm". If you were looking for a label for this film it would in all likelihood be "romantic drama" but don't let that put you off because it is a classy production.

Directed by Sylvia Chang who is equally known as an actress as she is a director (she starred in the seminal Hong Kong comedy film series "Aces Go Places"). She also won the Hong Kong Film Association Best Actress Award for "Passion" in 1986 which was a film she also directed - she has been directing films for 20 years now having made her debut feature in 1980.

The cast is a very capable one. The male lead is Takeshi Kaneshiro (playing Ho-jun) who is fast becoming a past master at the heart-tugging performance (see his performance in "Lost And Found" - a film that among other things featured Michael "Beast Cops" Wong as a half-Scottish sailor).

The female co-leads are played by Gigi Leung (Sheo-ru) - a talented actress who seems to have weathered recent press interest in her private life. She gives a great portrayal of an innocent making her first tentative steps towards adulthood.

Then there is Karen Mok (Chen Li). She is known more often than not for comedy roles in Chow Sing Chi films but here she turns in the films standout dramatic performance - she convincingly portrays a young schoolgirl whose developing sexuality is causing her sleepless nights (metaphorically speaking).

The film is essentially about a love triangle and is told in a romantic style (not a Category III style). It manages to be sentimental without being sickly which is a difficult thing to achieve but with a sensitive director at the helm (which they have here) that balancing act never falters.

The film is told in flashback by a film director preparing her next project with a scriptwriter (the Director is played by the films actual Director - Sylvia Chang). The 70's flashback scenes (actually a majority of the film) never strike a false note (there are plenty of flares and dagger collared shirts on display).

The significant success of "Tempting Heart" and other romantically themed films such as "Fly Me To Polaris" proves that love is back on the agenda at the Hong Kong box office. When this was released in Hong Kong cinemas Director Sylvia Chang was asked whether or not the film was based on her own life - she didn't give a direct answer but whether it is or it isn't she has crafted a touching and delicate story that is capable of taking us back to the heady days of our youth (I'm allowed to say that as I am now officially old / over 30).

One to show anyone who thought "Titanic" was the last word in romance !

Reviewed by: sharon
Date: 04/21/2000
Summary: A so-so movie

One of the more romantic movies of the year, it's not as bad as some may say.
I admit that the whole movie didn't really work for me. However, it was still entertaining and lovely to watch. With Hong Kong superstar teen idols in the main roles, who wouldn't want to watch it? Takeshi Kaneshiro plays the all too farmiliar role of the quiet, shy guy. Then there's GIgi Leung who plays the all too ordinary school girl, who appears in a few unbelieveable scenes. There's also Karen Mok who does a good job with the role she's given.
The movie is sort of like 2 in 1. Slyvia Chang plays a writer writing a script with other people. Takeshi and the others play the characters in the script.
While watching the movie, I just can't seem to connect. It's no tragic love story like Shakespere's Romeo and Juliet, but it touches the idea and philosophy of love.
One of the things that made the movie pretty good was how most of the answers are hidden in the movie and script itself until it is all revealed in the end in a collage of memories and moment from Sylvia's past.
One of the things that I thought wasn't done too well was Karen's Mok's charcter. I would of liked to see her character develope more or to have her take more of a role in the movie. It could of added depth, but it ended up a typical first love romance movies.
All in all, not a bad movie. It's not a waste of time to see it,so I think that it's worth it to rent.

Reviewed by: grimes
Date: 02/14/2000

The most interesting thing about Tempting Heart is its multi-leveled story telling. The story is told through two parallel sets of characters and covers about 20 or so years in their lives. The shifting perspectives between the characters and times is probably the most interesting part about the film. I also liked the fact that story is presented in a semi-linear fashion. The beginning half or so is fairly straightforward but after that we start jumping back and forth time and between characters. This gives the story a lot more depth, as we are able to see things from more points of view.

The downside of the movie is that it's a bit predictable and sappy. This isn't a huge flaw, but most of the movie is pretty predictable, sometimes too much so (for example, the character of Sheo-Rou's mother in the first half of the film is terribly stereotypical).

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the film is that Gigi Leung appears to be learning to act. Certainly there is precedent for flower vase actresses to reveal a secret talent (witness Shu Qi and Maggie Cheung) so hopefully this isn't just a fluke.

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 01/30/2000

This will never be my favorite kind of movie; in fact, the only reason I watch romantic films from HK is that I will watch ANYTHING made in HK. Sometimes it pays to go outside my favored genres, though; I found this film to be fairly engaging throughout. Like Anna Magdalena, the first hour is fairly conventional, while the remainder goes off in unusual directions. While AM's unconventional elements left me confused and alienated, however, TH's snuck up on me just when I thought I had the movie all figured out. The final sections manage to balance a sense of satisfaction and closure with the inevitable fact that, as in most movies of this sort, things just can't work out. At any rate, while this one isn't going to make me swear of Milkyway and their ilk, I enjoyed it, and would certaintly recommend it to fans of the genre.

Reviewed by: shelly
Date: 01/02/2000
Summary: Disappointing Sylvia Chang

One of the festival's small disappointments was Sylvia Chang's new film, Tempting Heart. Chang, who directs, acts, and also wrote the screenplay, plays contemporary Hong Kong filmmaker Cheryl.

She works with a colleague to turn episodes of her life into their newest project. A life of teen romance thwarted, then fitfully revived in adulthood: Gigi Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro, high school sweethearts in 70s, reencounter each other in the '80s and '90s. Karen Mok adds interest as the best friend and would be lover of both.

Production credits are superb. Taiwanese cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-bin creates a beautiful, subtly modulated colour palette (in what I'm beginning to think of as characteristically Taiwanese aquatic-textured soft greens and blues) to the '70s sections. There is an overall polish to the film that gives it a easy, commodified gloss that might make it successful as entertainment product.

This easily consumable package, though, contains a narrative with some tricky discontinuities and multiple layering. Despite its fidgety structure, which embeds flashbacks inside what is only belatedly revealed to be a film-within-a-film, Tempting Heart remains mired in a world of cliched nostalgia. But it's not clear to me how the film benefits from these bits of the story that are withheld until late in the narrative. In a text which seems to take the nostalgic attitude as a given, which avoids interrogating/unpacking its more problematic aspects, occasional narrative discontinuities come off as mere formal trickery, insufficiently daring to be playful, inadequately motivated to be meaningful in any sort of self-reflexive way.

The soft-centered and largely predictable screenplay isn't helped by the teen idol stars: Kaneshiro is at his least expressive, and Gigi Leung at her most (which puts them at about the same level). It is always a pleasure to watch Karen Mok in a film: here, she manages, in her final monologue with Kaneshiro, to transcend her material, and bring her severely under-written character to brief, vivid, moving life. Several minor character roles were nicely realized, though Chang herself seemed uncharacteristically constrained in her role in the framing story.

Reviewed by: ryan
Date: 09/22/1999
Summary: Tempting Heart (1999)

What's your first impression when you hear the name Sylvis CHANG? Probably the most common answer for local audience is that she is a director and most of her movies are about women. Probably what we can see is that in most of her movies, she put lots of descriptions on love. This mid-autumn festival her latest direction "Tempting Heart" will be showing in Hong Kong with a new combination of performers -- Takeshi Kaneshiro, Karen Joy Morris and Gigi LEUNG. For the trailer, what you can expect is a detailed romantic story.

"Tempting Heart" starts with Sylvia CHANG Nga-ga. She would like to make a movie about romance and love. She finds a script writer (Wiilam SO Wing-hong) and they start writing a story between two girls and a boy from 1979 to 1999 -- SHEN Sheo-lin (Gigi LEUNG Wing-kei), CHEN Li (Karen Joy Morris) and LIN Ho-jun (Takeshi Kaneshiro). Sheo-lin and Li has been friends since early ages. In 1979 when they were still teenagers, they met Ho-jun. They were attracted by Ho-jun. Finally Sheo-lin was in love with Ho-jun. They even stay alone in a dorm in the outlet Island. However, it is finally known by Sheo-lin's Mom and she prohibited Sheo-lin met Ho-jun again. They were finally broken up and Ho-jun went to Japan for his new life. 10 years passed, Sheo-lin becomes a fashion designer who flies around the world all the time. Once upon a time, she is in her business trip to Japan and she met Ho-jun again...

Audience will probably compare "Tempting Heart" with Golden Harvest previous screening -- Jingle MA Chor-shing's "Fly Me to Polaris". Though you get impressed by "Fly Me to Polaris", you won't be disappointed by "Tempting Heart" as it gives you another dimension.

Sylvia CHANG is good in writing romance, love and relationship. In "Tempting Heart", the description is appropriate and detailed. Taking the start of love between Ho-jun and Sheo-lin, Sheo-lin intended to create a self-accident to get the sympathy of Ho-jun. The setting shows the skills in making the feeling of youngsters.

Another remarkable setting of the sub-plot is showing the jealousity of CHEN Li when knowing Shao-lin and Ho-jun were in love. The setting sets CHEN in the bed after a severe illness. Shao-lin and Ho-jun go to visit CHEN in a rainy day. When they come, they help each other to dry themselves in front of CHEN Li. The sour of CHEN Li can be seen in full.

The whole story makes use of the roles of Sylvia CHANG and William SO in writing a love story. The main purpose is to make use of them to present the story in different characters' point of view. Such presentation approach makes the story more complete. As the movie says, we usually skip some of the angles out of our eyes. In fact, the making use of different angles can supplement each other. This also gives audience more atmosphere in thinking the situation.

The use of writers' role also helps in explaining some of the points of the movie. Like the character of Shao-lin's Mom, we agree that her roles is too traditional. The director explains the roles to make audience feel comfortable with the characters. This is a clever way of interaction.

In terms of acting, the acting of Gigi LEUNG, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Karen Joy Morris are natural. Out of the three, Takeshi Kaneshiro is sharpest. He is a guy who don't know how to be responsible in love and his outlook fits the role. For Gigi LEUNG, who plays the roles from teens to 30s. She has put her efforts in acting. However, it looks still a bit hard to believe that when she acts as 30s. I understand that she tried her best but sometimes it is something we have to say.

Out of the three leading cast, Karen seems to be the least in description. I expect she has more roles to play. She plays well but I expect she can be in the movie in more plots. Maybe the description between her and Takeshi Kaneshiro can be in more details.

"Temption Heart" is movie able to give a detailed and complete romance story. With clever presentation approach and naturl acting. Will your heart be tempted to see the movie now?

Written by Ryan Law, from Hong Kong Movie DataBase, on 23 September 1999.