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我左眼見到鬼 (2002)
My Left Eye Sees Ghosts

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/08/2006
Summary: Solid rom-com in the Milkyway formula

Since Sixth Sense, every man and his dog seems to be able to see ghosts in Hong Kong. This time around it's Sammi Cheng's turn, under the direction of Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai. The Milkyway team are playing it for laughs rather than scares though - it's basically a romantic comedy in disguise, that also has a message to deliver about loss and grief and other less comedic aspects of life.

The movie pitches you into the plot at the deep end, spending very little time setting things up. Before you really know what's going on, Sammi is in a car crash that injures her optic nerve and produces the ghost-seeing left eye. The first ghost she sees is Lau Ching-Wan, who was apparently in her class at elementary school and now wants to be her protector after death.

The two leads have a good chemistry together, and clearly had a lot of fun making the movie. The atmosphere is reminiscent of Fat Choi Spirit, where nobody is taking their work too seriously and Lau Ching-Wan in particular just lets himself run free. Sammi gives her complex character quite a lot of depth, but also lets herself be stupid and embarrassing when the need arises.

The thing that makes Johnnie To & Wai Ka Fai's movies stand out from the crowd in recent HK movies is simply that they seem so much more intelligent than their contemporaries. The film is quite simple, but deftly woven and full of detail. More than anybody else making movies in Hong Kong right now, you really get the impression that these two know what they're doing. ROOT2 & FTK being exceptions of course.

There's probably a formula in the Milkyway + Sammi Cheng collaborations since the success of Needing You, but it's dressed up sufficiently differently each time that you don't notice it. The same range of emotions is represented here, but with a different message to tell and different ways to tell it. Probably not a life changing experience for the audience, but a better made movie than most that will play on HK screens in 2002.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 01/06/2006
Summary: Sammi shines

“My Left Eye Sees Ghosts” has some very rich thematic content including the universal need to mourn the death of a loved one, the necessity to stop mourning at some point coupled with the realization that a person will never forget someone she really loved, essentially the impossibility of achieving what is glibly called “closure”. While it may seem that Johnny To’s romantic comedy is too slight a structure for such weighty imponderables such as love, death and the afterlife, it is held together by a consistently winning performance by Sammi Cheng. Cheng shows some excellent comic timing, especially in the scene in the garage with the ghost of Sam’s girlfriend. Cheng’s double takes, incredulous looks and outright amazement are excellent. She and the gorgeous Kelly Lin play off each other quite well in this scene.

We know from the very beginning that Cheng’s May Ho is the center of this film. It begins with a Christian funeral that includes a former girlfriend of the dead person attempting to throw herself into the grave. The audience finds out that the distraught woman is not who we think she is—the widow is much calmer and stands off to the side of the burial. She follows the Christian service with observances and rituals from the Buddhist service for the dead so it is clear that May is not in step with the rest of the mourners. Interestingly enough when the camera pulls back from the close-ups at the grave site to show May, it lifts and pans in such a way as to show some of the mourners standing in a pattern around her that seemed very familiar—not surprising, since it shows up, generally more obviously, in such To helmed works as “The Mission”, “The Longest Nite”, and (later on) “PTU”.

The Christian burial service sets up one of the conflicts that create the tension in the movie. Reincarnation is not part of Christian doctrine but is (I understand) essential to Buddhism. This is also what separates “MLESG” from Western movies which have ghosts hanging around such as “Ghost”, “Truly Madly Deeply”, and “Always”. Instead of the ghost of the dead person helping his loved one to deal with her loss and move on (while trying to keep her from falling for the wrong living guy) the Ken the ghost played by the Lau Ching-Wan has the job of helping may release her hold on her husband’s spirit so that he can be reincarnated.

While May seems to be an unlikable character at first—she admits to lying in order to convince her dead husband to marry her after only knowing her for a few days, she smokes too much, drinks much too much and even has the family dog euthanized—that she is played by Cheng signals that we should withhold judgment. Once May hits an abutment in her husband’s tank-like Mercedes and dies (only to come back to life when her ghost is scared back into her body by Ken) it is much easier to be on her side. What had seemed to proper scornfulness for her as a gold-digging tramp by her mother-in-law, sister-in-law and others now comes across as petty and churlish since she is not only in mourning but also is plagued by ghostly visions.

This is far from a perfect movie. Eliminating May’s father (Lam Suet at his leering, conniving best) and her step-siblings would have made it a strong and better structured story—there isn’t really a need for comic relief in a comedy, even one with as many melodramatically tearjerking moments as this one. Susan (the gorgeous Lee San-San) was essential to the plot but was also quite annoying after a while. Simon Yam’s character, Ben, veered from serious to whiny to extremely dull during his short time on the screen.

The usual conventions of the aftermath of the female star being badly injured were followed—while May had an arm and leg in casts, her hair and make-up remained perfect. This is to be expected and was not even in the same ridiculous league as a couple of others that come to mind. One was the recent remake of “The Manchurian Candidate”, in which Liev Schreiber is subjected to quicky neurosurgery. The surgery takes about 15 minutes from anesthesia to walking around feeling fine, with no bruising or other marking and with his hair still perfectly coiffed. Even worse was “Johnny Handsome”, in which Mickey Rourke had extensive corrective surgery on his deformed face and head over a period of weeks. The medical professionals taking care of him not only didn’t have to shave his head, they didn’t even have to wash his hair. Compared to howlers like these, May’s light bruising was appropriate for her life-threatening injuries. One piece of slapstick that worked, partially because it was very short, was the when the doctors operating on May decided that they should all move to the left: “Your left?” “My left?” “The patient’s left?”

Despite the occasional veering from comedy to bathos and back “My Left Eye Sees Ghosts” is an easy movie to like.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 08/17/2005
Summary: Very Nice Romance Comedy

The basic plot has been described, so I won't repeat it.

You have to stay with this one. The first half or so is amusing, but nothing special. But don't hit the reject button because it's just building the foundation and in the second half you find out the story has more depth than expected.

This is a good date movie. Bring a tissue, but be assured that your emotions won't be manipulated; the movie stays honest.

Very much worth watching.

And I almost forgot one very good reason to watch it: Cherrie Ying. She's way cuter than the puppies Lau Ching Wan's ghost character steals.

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 05/07/2005
Summary: lost me.

I was down with this movie for about the first 15 minutes, but then I started to think that I was pretty tired of these dumb comedies Johnnie To's been slinging with Wai Ka-Fai. Did this [maybe over-rated] director blow his load with The Mission?

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 11/17/2002
Summary: Not bad!!

I saw this a while ago so mym memory is not so good. What i do remember was it did have funny parts in it and the ending will blow you away. I did find the ending sad so those romantics should watch this one!!


Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 11/14/2002
Summary: Losing Sight

Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai co-direct yet another comedy featuring Sammi Cheng in "My Left Eye Sees Ghosts." The comedic take is a good departure from the potboiler of overly dramatic ghost story renderings of late. The movie is itself strangely possessed, shifting from one mode of storytelling to another.

Sammi Cheng plays the recently widowed wife of a rich man, who dies tragically whilst scuba diving on their honeymoon. She goes on an alcoholic bender and winds up in a car accident that causes injury to her left eye, which allows her to see ghosts. She meets up with Lau Ching Wan, who plays one of the ghosts in the film. The first half of the movie is played broadly for laughs, but they seem false and forced. The actors are left to play goofy caricatures of partially flesh-out characters. The second part of the movie tones down the goofiness and turns into a soap opera weeper. It is this clash between slapstick and straightforward comedy that creates an odd balance for the film. It appears that To and Fai had different takes on the same story. Even though the two have been creative partners for some time, narrative confusion arises that may be due to having two directors in conflict.

"My Left Eye Sees Ghosts" is a mixed bag due to the directors' variations in approach, leaving a distinct separation between the broad based comedy and earthy sitcom tone. This is the weakest of the To comedies with Cheng as the female lead, except for "Wu Yen," which was really awful. The direction was fairly pedestrian, relying on the cameraman's ability to work a steady cam. One of Sammi's ballads is used during a montage in the film that was the highlight of a bland and ineffective score. Whomsoever made the decision to play the comedy straight, as noted in the latter half of the film, should be congratulated for saving the movie.

Reviewed by: timktai
Date: 08/03/2002
Summary: A good tear jerker, but it falls a little flat

First of all, I'd like to say how impressed I was with Sammi Cheng's performance in this. Really. The whole movie revolves around Sammi's character, May, and I just didn't get tired of watching her.

May is a smoking, drinking, apparent golddigger (Think "Absolutely Fabulous", fashion included) whose whirlwind romance and marriage to a very rich offscreen husband lands her on a fortune, huge mansion, and inlaws who run a company that markets ladies' purses.

The husband dies offscreen in a diving accident, achieving her lifelong ambition, but emotionally empty and on a path to self destruction via drink. This leads to an auto accident in which the titular left eye is injured and grants her the ability to see (and hear!) ghosts.

If you can't figure out what the movie's about from my description of the setup, that's how I felt about the first minutes too.

The entire movie wavers between the absurdity of May's idle rich life, the silliness that usually comes with HK ghost movies, and the touching relationship between May and a ghost and the maturation of May's character without losing her essence.

I mean 'wavering' in a very good sense, btw. Both humorous and dramatic interludes work towards setting up the conclusion which left me floored.

It's not the most polished film: There are some scenes here and there that felt a little too long or extraneous. There's a comic relief subplot about May's criminal relatives that doesn't quite work and gets dropped midway.

But these are minor annoyances.

One day after watching the movie, I felt the premise was a little contrived, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the movie all the way through.

Watch this film for: Sammi, a well structured story and script, Johnnie To's direction, and getting thrown off balance emotionally as your perception of the characters changes.