The world of a Chinese mother mourning the untimely death of her son is suddenly disrupted by the presence of a stranger who doesn’t speak her language. Lilting is a touching and intimate film about finding the things that bring us together.
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Hmmm... I loved the premise and the slowness that translation affords, but the bald sentimentality undercut the film's momentum. I wonder what it would've felt like not to know both Chinese and English, to be alienated as a spectator sutured to the white subject's perspective. Of course I'm speaking as someone who would watch Ben Whishaw pout at a bowl of cereal for four hours...
Two things - Whishaw and the lighting. Whishaw's acting was perfect, as usual, emotional and honest. He puts all of himself into his character. The lighting adds another layer, transcends the viewer into a world where Kai is still alive, into a world where Whishaw's pain can be understood.
Lilting is exactly what it says it is: it's intimate and one feels almost in the skin of the translator, peeking in their lives. It has some peaks of great dialogue and overall good acting. The slow pace doesn't kill it because it's not a movie that grows slow - it has a mourning sort of limbo feeling to it from the start and so the numbness follows through and gives a nice effect to the film.