[MOVIE PREVIEW]Love Hinges on CoincidenceWhile Tony Bennett croons that his love waits for him in San Francisco, the director of "Sausalito," Yu Wigang, describes the town as the city of variety. He explains "San Francisco reminds me of Hong Kong; you can experience 1,000 different atmospheres in a single day."
This is why he chose the San Francisco Bay area as the backdrop for his film. He found it the perfect setting for a love story. The director found Sausalito in particular, just north of the Golden Gate bridge, to be a romantic setting.
This new film depicts a love story between two young people from Hong Kong, Mike and Ellen, played by Leon Lai and Maggie Cheung, who are better known as Yeo Myeong and Jang Manok in Korea.
Ellen is a strong woman who works as a taxi driver and an artist, but she is still affected by a past divorce and is now left with a young son, Scott. After moving to San Francisco, Ellen dreams of living in Sausalito, a beautiful little city of artists. One night at a jazz bar, she runs into Mike and instantly feels drawn to him. Mike, a rich dot-comer who is cynical about money, love and life, also feels a connection.
The plot line is a series of coincidences that leads Mike and Ellen to fall hopelessly for each other. Mike is convinced that Ellen is the love of his life and eventually invites her to his plush villa in Sausalito. Ellen is shocked by the spectacular house, and perhaps more shocked by Mike's abrupt proposal that they live together. Despite the casualness of his invitation, they soon start living together.
But a crisis threatens their happy life when Mike's business becomes financially unstable. He becomes too preoccupied to care about Ellen and Scott, and then spends a night with another woman for the sake of his "business." Ellen discovers the affair and leaves Mike. Only a natural disaster is powerful enough to make them rediscover their feelings for each other.
Though "Sausalito" is a sweet love story, the plot relies on too many remarkable incidents to be plausible. Also, Ellen's son feels unrealistically comfortable with his mother's new boyfriend from the start. But star performances from Lai and Cheung save the film from becoming just a transparent and mediocre love story.
If you can suspend your disbelief for a couple of hours, "Sausalito" might be a passable date movie. Scheduled for release on Saturday.
by Chun Su-jin