reibureibu’s review published on Letterboxd:
In an interview with writer-director Wong Kar-wai, he said this about the film's title:
"In this film, some audiences will say that the title seems to be very cynical, because it is about two persons living together, and at the end, they are just separate. But to me, happy together can apply to two persons or apply to a person and his past, and I think sometimes when a person is at peace with himself and his past, I think it is the beginning of a relationship which can be happy, and also he can be more open to more possibilities in the future with other people."
This actually clears up a great deal of this film for me, as my first watch left me a bit bewildered and a bit stunned. Although I had seen some of his other films, I didn't know what to really make of this one as it just seemed so much more... ugly and hateful. A very good movie to be clear, but horrible in terms of personality and in how it made me feel.
And while this might seem obvious in hindsight, that quote in light of this movie makes me feel much more optimistic about it all, that although our two leads afflicted and were subject to each other's cruel actions and crueler words, that through their ultimate destruction of their relationship can they heal and improve themselves and their futures. The end of a relationship is sad, certainly, but often it can come as a relief more than anything.
Happy Together is interested in this renewal through destruction, and it is notable that our leads' lives and outlook improve drastically after separation. It isn't easy and they certainly still face obstacles, but what energy they put into their already-doomed relationship can (and will) be put into better prospects.