- 2 hr 9 min
2046 is a visually stunning and enigmatic movie from celebrated director Wong Kar-wai. Set in the year 2046, the film is a meditation on love, loss, and memory that unravels across a series of fragmented narratives, dreamlike sequences, and stunning visual tableaux. At its heart is Tony Chiu-Wai Leung's character Chow Mo-wan, an enigmatic writer and womanizer who moves between various romantic entanglements as he grapples with the ghosts of his past and the imagined future of the year 2046.
The film opens with Chow living alone in a mysterious hotel room where he writes a novel called 2046. It is not entirely clear what 2046 is, but it seems to be a kind of futuristic space where people can recapture lost loves, revisit past memories, or seek out new romantic entanglements. Chow envisions 2046 as a place where people can escape their own mortality and the pain of love lost, but as the film progresses, it becomes clear that Chow is himself trapped in a kind of purgatory between the past and the future.
This theme is echoed throughout the film in various interlocking stories that explore different aspects of love and loss. In one, Chow recalls a former lover, Su Li-zhen (Gong Li), who he met in the same hotel years earlier. In another, he begins a passionate affair with a mysterious woman named Bai Ling (Ziyi Zhang), who seems to be hiding a dark secret. In yet another, he meets the melancholy android Lulu (Carina Lau), who longs to escape her own programmed fate.
As these stories unfold, the film becomes a kaleidoscopic meditation on the nature of love and the ways in which it can both connect and ultimately separate us from one another. Wong's signature visuals are on full display here, as he weaves together sumptuous colors, ornate set designs, and slow-motion cinematography to create a lush and dreamlike world that is both alluring and surreal.
Of course, 2046 is not without its flaws. Some viewers may find the nonlinear narrative structure confusing, and the film's themes of love and loss can at times be muddled by overly ornate dialogue or too much emphasis on style over substance. Additionally, some may find the film's depiction of women problematic or reductive.
Despite these flaws, however, 2046 remains an ambitious and visually stunning work that is sure to linger in the memory long after the credits have rolled. With its lush visuals and haunting meditations on love and loss, it is a film that rewards repeat viewings, and that is likely to spark debates and discussions long after it is over.
2046 is a 2004 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 9 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.4 and a MetaScore of 78.