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My Left Eye Sees Ghosts - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Ngo joh ngan gin do gwai

Hong Kong 2002

Comedy, Romance

Jonnie To
Wai Ka-Fai

Sammi Cheng
Lau Ching Wan
Lee San-San
Cherrie Ying
Bonnie Wong
Wong Tin-Lam
Lam Suet
Simon Yam
Lam Chi-Sin
Candy Hau
Kelly Lin

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My Left Eye Sees Ghosts

Story: May (Sammi Cheng) loses her husband during their honeymoon. Since her husband was very wealthy she is set for life. The family of the husband is rather sceptical concerning May's true feelings as she only knew her boyfriend seven days before she married him. It is the natural thing to assume that she chose him because of his money, and in fact May enjoys life now. She spends her time at home, drinks and does nothing at all. Yet, it seems that losing her husband affects her after all. After she causes a car accident while being completely drunk she wakes up at a hospital and from that day on is able to see ghosts with her left eye. Being at her side now is Wong (Lau Ching Wan), a former classmate who secretly was in love with her and now seems to look after her. When Wong died he was thirteen and thus he behaves pretty childish. Contrary to her expectations and despite her initial fear May becomes friends with Wong and he is even capable of making May have more fun in life again.

Review: What do you do when you like a chick flick despite being a guy? Congratulate the directors and scriptwriters for producing proof of this actually not being an impossible task! However, "My Left Eye Sees Ghosts" can't simply be called a romance flick after all as it is too unorthodox, wacky, and most importantly too funny for that. There isn't anything predictable here and yet the movie treads on familiar ground so that you may expect to get some good heartache at the end. But this heartache actually has impact! Thanks to a well-written story and charismatic actors. That this romantic comedy can even open up the heart of men is the effort of its lighthearted atmosphere and unexpected implementation of feelings that are honest even when things start to become a bit corny at times.

My Left Eye Sees Ghosts - Film Screenshot 11

The movie's success shouldn't be a surprise, though. The directing duo Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai, To being known for his bloody action thrillers taking place in the gangster world like "The Mission" or "Exiled", has already delivered an exceptionally well achieved romantic comedy with "Needing You". As before they once again bet all their money on Sammi Cheng as their star and appealing figure. However, at first Sammi Cheng is everything but likeable. But after a while we find out that her true face looks different. Her pecularities may be a bit annoying at times, but that's not a problem and they are also supposed to be. After all "My Left Eye Sees Ghosts" is in general a pretty wacky comedy - after the first few minutes you don't even know what to think of all this, but the heart of gold the movie carries within is soon uncovered.

My Left Eye Sees Ghosts - Film Screenshot 12

There is no horror to be found in the movie, aside from the fact that there are ghosts. The film also isn't as ridiculous as its title suggests... well, actually it is but in a positive way. To see Lau Ching-wan ("Life Without Principle", "Running out of Time") as a mature child who considers himself a superhero and for example faces the cooking pot monster in order to fight for rice for everyone by simply putting his head into the pot and not getting it out again is just laugh-out-loud funny, although it easily could have appeared cheap. This romantic comedy is in fact full of exactly such scenes. Every now and again not everything works the way it might have been supposed to, but most of the time the humor hits your smile muscle just right.

In other words this is ultimately a comedy. And a unusually well written one at that! It's not just that the movie proves to have a big heart and just wants to create some good mood, there is even a twist at the end that makes it seem worthwhile to watch the movie a second time. Even the question why Ken isn't appearing as a 13-years old boy, after all he died as such, is eventually getting an answer. So the resolution can be quite surprising, at the same time it delivers a lot of heartache, because after all, this much is obvious from the very beginning, everything revolves around letting go and keep on living without your loved one. That doesn't mean that everything is perfectly executed on screen. No, there are even a few scenes that drag on too much and seem rather corny, but all in all this is overlaid by the positive aspects of the movie.

My Left Eye Sees Ghosts - Film Screenshot 13

Technically the movie isn't nearly as sophisticated as To's later thrillers, which are planned in every small detail including the lighting, since there are numerous oddly playful camera movements and angles. But to some degree this is also still the influence of the 80s and 90s flair of Hong Kong movies oozing through.
"My Left Eye Sees Ghost" would have been forgettable and silly entertainment if the film wouldn't unexpectedly also offer some honest feelings and nice character elaboration. The strong acting from the cast also helps. It actually isn't the tonal shifting that makes it difficult for the viewer to be captivated sometimes but the aimlessness of the movie in the middlepart and the ending that unnecessarily drags on too much. There is something raw in To's and Wai's romantic comedy which even makes you doubt at times if this is really a good movie. But in the end when even a though guy finds his heart opened up here there is no doubt about this being a recommendable movie.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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