He & She


Anita Yuen stars in this along with Tony Leung Kar Fai  in a lightweight romantic comedy/drama. Basically, she gets pregnant from a dirty rat of a fellow (Lawrence Cheng) who she didn't realize was married and who of course wants nothing to do with her after a quick sexual interlude. So she then considers abortion due to her financial plight, but her friend Tony proposes marriage so that she can have the child and he promises to help raise it. So she marries her best friend.
The problem is that he is gay (his favorite star is Aaron Kwok) - but he is a wonderful father. As one would expect, there are many complications such as the now divorced father coming back and wanting to marry Anita, claim the child and move to Australia. In the meantime though, Tony has had a certain reaction below the waist when Anita gave him a friendly hug and kiss. He is clearly shocked, confused and somewhat humiliated. In order to test this new sensation he peeks at Christine Ng in the shower - phew,  no visible reaction - he kisses Annabelle Lau - again no reaction. Obviously it was only a momentary aberration - until Anita massages his back and that certain tingle returns. Yes, Anita has cured his homosexuality! The Christian Right has endorsed this film! He realizes in fact that a love for a woman has snuck up on him. The film has some funny and sweet moments and good performances from Anita (both in short and long haired mode) and Tony, but basically the film is modest and somewhat predictable fare.

My rating for this film: 6.0.


Reviewed by YTSL

For a variety of reasons, there are quite a few Hong Kong movies that would not travel well across certain cultural borders.  Although local viewers probably consider that which stars Anita Yuen and Tony Leung Kar Fai to be inoffensive as well as entertaining fluff (and voted with their feet and wallets to make it the 15th highest grossing Hong Kong film of 1994), I’d wager that this romantic offering contains elements that would outrage an equal measure of Western liberals and conservatives; what with its featuring a “homosexual conversion” and depictions of gay men as limp-wristed fellows yet also taking pains to convey the message that non-heterosexual individuals and their life choices can be as morally upstanding as -- and in some cases, better than certain -- heterosexual ones.

Some other aspects of HE & SHE that different people might find problematic include there being a 14 year gap between its male and female leads (who nonetheless had previously played a couple in two other efforts), the main characters possessing a dangerous inclination to have unprotected sex (even when going to bed with someone they don’t know all that well), and the production containing what must be one of the least believable courtroom scenes ever filmed (whose credibility gets stretched by the presiding justice being portrayed Law Kar Ying).  For my money, the first one third or so of the movie -- which details how Yee entered the lives of a costume designer named Kai (played by Big Tony) and his two rambunctious close friends (Wai Wai is essayed by Christine Ng and Pai by Annabelle Lau) -- also struck the wrong chord by being too breezy and frivolous in tone and feel.
When this was followed by a heavy-handed, guilt-ridden section in which Anita Yuen’s Yee pregnant character contemplates whether or not to have an abortion after belatedly finding out that her lover was a married man who had gone off -- initially presumably permanently -- to Australia, I got pretty close to calling it a day as far as this work was concerned.  Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t though; not least since HE & SHE really did seem to take a turn for the better from around the time that Yee and Kai made the decision to get married (so that Yee’s carried-to-term baby wouldn’t be an illegitimate child).  For one thing, the previously overly ebullient Yee started acting more serious (And while I do often enjoy Anita Yuen playing for laughs, I actually reckon that she’s a better dramatic than comic actress).  For another, this also was when Kai got noticeably less campy as well as more caring.
As she and he warmed up to each other, so did I towards the pair of them, the two other good-hearted members of their close-knit coterie and the movie as a whole.  Once this happened, I found myself able to:  Suspend my disbelief that, among other things, a man (like that played by Jacob Cheung) would willingly entrust a neophyte stockbroker like Yee with HK$600,000 of his hard earned, life-time savings and not pay dearly for doing so; as well as be happy to relax and enjoy watching HE & SHE slowly but surely wend along its -- if truth be told -- not entirely unpredictable course.  As for Kai’s coming to have more than ‘sisterly’ -- Hong Kong (movie) convention appears to dictate that gay men be taken to be honorary women -- and other platonic feelings for Yee:  His disclosing that he had been besotted by a female prior to having his first boyfriend made me easily inclined to think of him as being bisexual rather than homosexual, and therefore liable to fall for a good friend who happened to be of the opposite sex from him and his previous lovers.
N.B. HE & SHE’s two stars and its director, Lawrence Cheng (who also took on the role of the villain of the piece), had figured one year earlier in a UFO production entitled “Tom, Dick and Hairy”.  Something that this pair of generally light offerings have in common is a male character who behaves in ways that would be identified as effeminate yet turns out to not have the sexual preferences that such men are stereotypically presumed to possess.  While I wouldn’t stridently argue that either of these innocuous movies’ makers were intent on hammering home certain socio-cultural observations by way of their populist works, neither do I plan to go about dismissively asserting -- as Paul Fonoroff did in his “At the Hong Kong Movies” book -- that “Films have the power to both entertain and enlighten, but you’d never know it from...[viewing] HE & SHE” (1998:397).

My rating for this film:  6.5



DVD Information:

Distributed by Ocean Shores

The transfer is fairly mediocre - dull and dark a lot of the time - but still viewable.

Letterboxed (but just barely)

Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks

There is no menu

The subtitles are burnt on Chinese and English. Most of the time they are readable though on occasion they fade into the white background.