Movie Review: Love in the Buff

Article by Candace Lee

From the get-go, Love in the Buff ensures you are awake in its opening scenes, playing on different metaphors, some shocking and morbidly amusing, like it is trying to decide in which direction to take the remaining course of the film. The film intermediately ticks down an unexplained days counter 500-Days-of-Summer-style, lamentably not using this or other initially introduced concepts to its full effect; this realistic drama starts a bit confusedly but quickly finds the story it wants to tell, focusing on the leading man and woman, played by Shawn Yue and veteran actress Miriam Yeung Chin Wah, and their search for happiness, closure and someone to readily love.

Love in a Puff strays from the overdone formula driven to bitterness consisting of one sweet, starry-eyed young woman and one strong, noble man of her dreams, sweeping her away from her lifestyle built entirely around waiting for her prince. Love in the Buff is the sequel to romantic comedy Love in a Puff, pulling at the errant threads that inevitably crop up in all love affairs, revealing what the end credits and happy ending soundtrack gloss over and real life brings to light, nine months later.

Love in the Buff addresses what one does with these errant threads, having the characters tug at some and fight hard to ignore others, unraveling the frayed edges of a relationship with the ever-hanging question in the air of whether or not they can be stitched. The main characters, Cherle and Jimmy, are at that stage, feeling as if they have wandered too far into the monotony everyday life together seems to now present them with. They go their separate ways, moving physically farther, but find themselves more entangled to each other than they thought, spiraling into a loop of lies, reliving their memories, and even adultery, as they try to figure out what they want and how to separate the past from the present.

Combining the straight-faced brand of humor Yeung brings to the big screen and subtle grit that is needed to fall in love, this realistic rendering of moving past and learning from previous, and arguably necessary, mistakes, navigating the galling societal expectations placed upon a woman in her thirties, and the inexplicable pull certain people hold for us is a wonderful film of humanistic proportions, portraying highs and lows at their most basic and complex.

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