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Film / Turn Left, Turn Right

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Turn Left, Turn Right (向左走·向右走, Heung joh chow, heung yau chow in China) is a 2003 Hong Kong-Singaporean film set in Taipei, Taiwan. It centers around two people who are seemingly perfect for each other - shy violinist John Liu and ditzy professional translator Eve Choi, who meet once as children and, by chance, meet again as adults. They always pass by each other, but never seem to meet - and now that they are reminded of each other's existence, fate transpires to keep them apart.

Directed by Johnnie To and Wai Kai-Fai, Turn Left, Turn Right stars Takeshi Kaneshiro and Gigi Leung as the leads. It is based on an illustrated book by Jimmy Liao, A Chance Of Sunshine.

This film contains examples of:

  • Anaphora: In the English title: "Turn" is shared: Turn Left, Turn Right
  • Baby Carriage: Makes for a nice Call-Back. John and Eve encounter a baby out for a stroll on their first meeting, and they proceed to act all married-couple on the baby. The second time we see the baby is when John is trying to look for Eve.
    John (to the baby): I'm very sad. (the baby frowns)
    Eve: Do you have something to tell Big Sister?
    (the baby starts crying)
  • Beta Couple: Subverted. Ruby and Dr. Hu get together with far less incident, but realized it was only their despair at getting stuck with Pair the Spares.
  • Birds of a Feather: John and Eve are very, very alike, which is a major factor in them hitting it off.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Boy loses girl, boy tries to find girl...
  • Dramatic Irony: The film constantly shows the viewer opportunities for John and Eve to meet again, even having them undergo the exact same things, and yet circumstances never work out in their favor until the end.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Hu drinks quote a lot after Eve kicks him out of her flat.
  • Fate Drives Us Together: A subversion. John and Eve are always in the same places at the same time - a sign that they're "destined to be together" - but neither of them notice one another. By the time they do, fate seems to have changed its mind. It's implied this was going on with Ruby and Dr. Hu as well, as shown in the scene where they talk to John/Eve in the hospital.
  • The Film of the Book: An adaptation of the book A Chance of Sunshine.
  • First Girl Wins: Eve met John once when they were children, and gets the guy.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: A variation. They both remember it, but neither remember the other.
  • I Will Find You: By the halfway point the leads' motivation is finding each other. Too bad they live in what is essentially Missed Him by That Much: The Movie.
  • Love at First Sight: An important element in every romcom! Sparks fly between John and Eve upon their first meeting. Even namedropped, as the Polish poem titled "Love at First Sight," which features heavily in the movie, pretty much describes the premise.
  • Missed Him by That Much: The Movie. John and Eve are constantly in the same places at the same time (to the point of living right next to each other); coincidences just conspire against them.
  • Pair the Spares: Deconstructed. Ruby and Hu come to terms with the fact that they're only together because the persons they loved chose each other, despite the fact that they still love John and Eve respectively.
  • Rain, Rain, Go Away: The rain leads to John and Eve's phone numbers being erased from the slips of paper.
  • Race for Your Love: After the simultaneous phone calls to each other revealing that both John and Eve are about to leave the country, they attempt to run off and find the other. It fails.
  • Romantic False Lead: Both the food delivery girl Ruby (played by Terri Kwan) and the doctor Hu (played by Edmund Chen) are romances that prolong the official couple (John and Eve) getting together.
  • Separated by the Wall: To the extreme, to the point that they actually live separated by a wall. Although they are in different buildings, John and Eve have many, many, many shots like this. Even in the hospital.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Hu has some mild shades of this. He hires a photographer to take stolen shots of Eve around Taipei - Ruby notices that John happens to be in every shot.
  • Symploce: In the Chinese title: 向 and 走 bracket the direction characters: 向左走·向右走, Heung joh chow, heung yau chow