Review: Lilting (2014)


Writer and director Hong Khaou makes a lasting impression with his feature debut Lilting, a profound and intimately executed low-budget drama. Mourning the death of his boyfriend (Andrew Leung), Richard (Ben Whishaw) makes attempts to connect with his partner’s mother (Pei-pei Cheng), a Chinese-Cambodian woman who’s completely oblivious to her son’s true sexuality. Dealing with loss, multiculturalism and homosexuality, Lilting hides some big ideas behind its intimate, beautifully directed and acted surface. Khaou does wonders in ensuring the film never stretches beyond its means by utilising one or two locations and ensuring the relationship between Richard and Junn remains central. Whishaw and Cheng deliver a pair of exceptional performances, with the layers of each’s personality slowly stripped back as they’re drawn closer and closer together through shared emotions and memories. It’s a small-scale work, but one that’s not to be left undone, largely due to all involved’s efforts to deliver a film that makes a significant impact and proves that emotions known no obstacles.

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