[[caption-width-right:290: They could, but would they?]]

''In the Mood for Love'' (original title: 花樣年華) is a movie by UsefulNotes/HongKong art-house director Creator/WongKarWai, who had previously made a name for himself with the critically acclaimed ''Film/ChungkingExpress'' in 1994. Released in 2000, it is set in early 1960s Hong Kong and tells the bittersweet story of a man and a woman (played respectively by Creator/TonyLeung and Creator/MaggieCheung) who are neighbors, and whose respective spouses have an affair with each other. While they find themselves increasingly attracted to each other, they refuse to give in to their feelings out of a sense of propriety.

It is the second part of an informal trilogy of films. The first, ''Film/DaysOfBeingWild'' (1991), was (partly) about Maggie Cheung's character from this one. Tony Leung also appeared in an uncredited cameo, but it's unclear if he was playing the same character. The third film, ''[[Film/TwoThousandFortySix 2046]]'' (2004), is about Leung's ''In The Mood For Love'' character, with Cheung briefly appearing in flashback. Though thematically similar (as is much of Wong Kar Wai's work, which [[AuthorAppeal very often]] deals with the difficulty of finding love), the films don't have much in common story-wise. ''2046'' might spoil ''In The Mood...'' a little bit, but otherwise they're separate experiences.

!!Contains examples of:

* AuthorAppeal: Shanghainese culture, and feelings of alienation. Both big parts of Wong's own life.
* BabiesEverAfter: Subverted; Su has a child in one of the timeskips, but it's her husband's.
* BittersweetEnding: Chow and Su are able to experience true love with each other, but they never get to act on their feelings and they end the story apart, with Chow admitting his secrets while alone.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: Chow and Su never consummate their feelings and fail to reunite.
* EatingLunchAlone: An adult variant, the loneliness of the leads is emphasized by their eating meals alone.
* TheFaceless: Neither character's spouse is ever shown; we only hear their voices or see the back of their heads.
* GoodAdulteryBadAdultery: Averted. The protagonists, already close in spirit, discover that their respective spouses are having an affair with each other, yet they tacitly agree not to do likewise - although there are hints (not that there are anything ''but'' hints in this film) that they came very close.
* HopeSpot: The various chances Su and Chow have of reuniting are missed, and they don't meet again.
* LandmarkOfLore: The epilogue of the film takes place in Angkor Wat, a place where Mr. Chow feels he can safely unburden himself of his secret.
* {{Qipao}}: Su and many other women are dressed up in them as a part of their everyday wear, appropriate for the time period and setting. This is also a reference to Shanghainese culture.
* SceneryPorn: Angkor Wat. (That's assuming every movie photographed by Christopher Doyle doesn't ''automatically'' qualify.)
* SlowMotion: Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung are repeatedly filmed in slow motion while walking, climbing stairs, buying dumplings, etc...
* TitledAfterTheSong: "花樣的年華" (''Hua Yang De Nian Hua'') is a song by Zhou Xuan, while the international title is from the song "I'm in the Mood for Love".
* UnlimitedWardrobe: Maggie Cheung wears a different {{Qipao}} in every scene, and sometimes even within what seems to be one scene, hinting the two of them are playing out various scenarios more than once.
* {{UST}}: The whole plot.
* WillTheyOrWontThey: A good question. Many viewers have admitted impatience that the protagonists would get it on already.
* YourCheatingHeart: Chow and Su's respective spouses are in a romantic relationship together. Su and Chow have a platonic one but begin to develop feelings as well.