REVIEW: Lilting

14 12 2014

LiltingWriter/director Hong Khaou’s “Lilting” deals with two stories.  The first involves Ben Whishaw’s Richard as he and his lover Kai (Andrew Leung) prepare to reveal their relationship to Kai’s extremely conservative unadjusted immigrant mother Junn (Chang Pei-Pei).  The second follows Ben as he attempts to care for Junn in spite of her objections.

The missing link between these two threads is Kai’s unfortunate death in a traffic accident.  It takes a while to discern a gap in time between them, and even when it does become clear, Khaou does not delineate particularly well between past and present.  “Lilting” jerks around without direction, simply portraying events without ever really making them add up to anything substantial.

The film aims for tenderness in its portrayal of love and affection, but it winds up treading too lightly to have any impact.   With its static characters and lifeless plot, the 91 minutes of “Lilting” are a depressing chore with no payoff for the pain.

At least “Blue Valentine” and “Revolutionary Road” had a grand statement to make about relationships to justify their bleakness.   “Lilting” just has banalities and boredom to offer.  The only audience for this movie is (hopefully) Ben Whishaw fans who feel the need to see his entire filmography – for better or for worse – when he gets the roles, and thus the stardom, he deserves.  C1halfstars

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