Lost for Words (Green Apple Entertainment, NR)

Lost-for-Words 75Lost for Wordsdoes not feel like a film you’ve already seen.

 

 

 

 

Lost-for-Words 500

Set in Hong Kong, Lost for Words is a love story between an American former marine, Michael (Sean Faris, Never Back Down), and a Chinese ballerina, Anna (Grace Huang, The Man with the Iron Fists). Both have shaky pasts and have been significantly hurt by love, but upon meeting one another they must decide if falling again is worth the risks they face.

Co-writers C. Joseph Bendy and Stanley J. Orzel developed an interesting story with Lost for Words in the way that although we have seen millions of love stories, Lost for Words does not feel like a film you’ve already seen. We are first introduced to the characters separately and offered a very small amount of backstory for each, and once they meet, nearly an hour of the film is spent on the early stages of the relationship as the two get to know one another. At a glance this seems like too much time, but when watching the film it works really well. You actually see the characters get to know one another, rather than watching them unrealistically fall in love in a three-minute montage, which would remind you that you’re watching a movie.

Beyond the plot being timed well, Lost for Words is wonderfully written because much of the story is suggested rather than explicitly told. Michael does not disclose the story of his previous relationship to any other characters in the film, but we learn about it from his actions. Similarly, Anna’s backstory is learned through a photograph she looks at various times during the film. This is much appreciated because without having the writers hold our hands though the plot, we are given the opportunity to put our own predictions and inferences into multiple facets of the story.

Cinematographer Jimmy Wong made some interesting decisions as well. Lost for Words is shot, for the most part, at eye level of the cast, and this enhances the feeling of being there rather than being the spectator of the film. There are a few scenes in which the camera takes the point of view of one of the characters, and this is done at tasteful, deliberate times such as Michael and Anna’s first meeting.

I will note, however, that the framing of the dance scenes makes it clear that Grace Huang does not have a strong dance background. We never really see her dance. Whenever she is on stage or in the studio, we only see her face and arms, and if it is a wide shot the lighting is changed so she is not clear. The scenes are still beautiful and uninterrupted—they don’t stand out from the rest of the film from a visual aspect—but to have a main character be a ballerina and never see a full shot of her dancing is distracting and can pull you out of the reality.

The fallback of Lost for Words is that it’s a bit anticlimactic. So much time is spent on building the relationship that by the time the major conflict arises the film is almost over. There is an attempt to rectify this with sort of a cliffhanger ending, which I thought worked, but it is definitely something audiences will either love or hate.

Lost for Words is worth seeing if you like a good love story and are interested in cultural and language barriers. This film is not for everyone, as it is accurately classified as a romance and drama film. There is very little action, and no notable jokes, but it is a sweet film and will maintain the attention of the romantics out there. | Samantha LaBat

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