Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34

Where To Watch

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The new film lives up to expectations and, indeed, pushes past them into virtually unmapped territory.
  2. The result is rich, lush -- simply exquisite.
  3. A riot of sight and sound that, however baffling, has an irresistible, elemental pull.
  4. Filmed to perfection by the great Christopher Doyle and others.
  5. Like Hitchcock, Mr. Wong is at once a voyeur and fetishist par excellence.
  6. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    I'm glad that 2046 is different from "Mood" even while being strangely of a piece with it. Like "Mood," it’s a movie of utter wonder and ravishment. But the key here is different.
  7. 91
    One of those undeniably beautiful things. The film is, in fact, an encyclopedia of beauty -- the beauty of desire, the beauty of nostalgia, the beauty of music and clothing and smoke and pain, and, chiefly, the beauty of women.
  8. There are many places a visitor may go astray in 2046 -- places where the filmmaker appears to be a bit at loose ends too. Still, Wong's invitation -- ''Let's get lost'' -- is irresistible.
  9. It's the best thing Wong has done in years--perhaps ever.
  10. Mood is everything, trumped up by a score so rich with pop songs, bossa nova drama, and symphonic mournfulness it's almost a movie on its own. 2046 may be a Chinese box of style geysers and earnest meta-irony, but that should not suggest there aren't bleeding humans at the center of it.
  11. Wong brilliantly blends musical styles and eras to create an intoxicating mood.
  12. 90
    You may feel lost or bewildered at times in 2046 (and I certainly did), and you may feel that Chow is suffering from self-inflicted wounds. But every new adventure with every new girl vibrates with possibility, and the filmmaking is so stunning that you may not care that this is less a movie with a plot and characters than a hermetically sealed universe of romantic regret.
  13. iIt's a film for art- and foreign-movie devotees. But it's also a movie for audiences who simply want to get turned on.
  14. 88
    2046 is a bit overlong and not for all tastes, but fans of "In the Mood for Love" will relish this second helping, which is more emotionally substantial than the first.
  15. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    In this gorgeously melancholic fresco of love affairs, Tony Leung Chiu Wai plays a womanizing pulp-fiction writer in '60s Hong Kong.
  16. 80
    Just as memorable and emotionally intense as any of Wong's films. It's a mood as much as a movie.
  17. 80
    The result is a film chilly and externalized in all the ways that Mood was bottled up and woozily dreamlike.
  18. An intoxicatingly beautiful, maddeningly elliptical and utterly enthralling meditation on the fleeting pleasures and haunting aftermath of doomed romance.
  19. Only a master director could make such a beautifully flawed film.
  20. 75
    This long, gorgeous, occasionally maddening movie is the work of a hopeless romantic who knows there is no pain as bittersweet -- or as haunting -- as the pain of a broken heart.
  21. Nat King Cole croons a Christmas chestnut, an opera wafts into the ether, Latin jazz sways. It's all terribly atmospheric, and if you're in the mood for atmosphere, 2046 delivers.
  22. Wong uses his brief evocations of the future mainly as a way of poetically lamenting the past.
  23. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Even if a Chinese movie doesn't sound like your idea of summer fun, give 2046 a chance. Its pearly artistry and gorgeous faces should put you quickly, deeply, in the mood for love.
  24. The film is the work of a visual genius who may have overextended his storytelling ability, but with fascinating results.
  25. 63
    Since it is by Wong Kar Wai, 2046 is visually stunning. He uses three cinematographers but one style, that tries to evoke mood more than meaning. The movie as a whole, unfortunately, never seems sure of itself. It's like a sketchbook. These are images, tones, dialogue and characters that Wong is sure of, and he practices them, but he does not seem very sure why he is making the movie, or where it should end.
  26. Like Wong's past films, 2046 is lovely to behold, elegantly moody and rich in atmospherics. And the women caught in Chow's web are extraordinary beauties.
  27. 60
    As for the title, well, it made me think of Thomas Carlyle's wife, who read Browning's long poem "Sordello," enjoyed it, but still couldn't work out whether Sordello was a man, a city, or a book. So it is with 2046. A place? A date? A hotel room? A bar tab? You tell me.
  28. The story is multiplex and unclear.
  29. 60
    The fascinating visuals and performances by Leung and the assortment of actresses like Gong, Zhang Ziyi and Maggie Cheung ensure that the film is still worth watching.
  30. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    This, too, is a mood piece, sometimes surreal and dominated by Chow's lovelorn sadness. But it's hard to find an emotional or narrative handle to hang on to, since the filmmaker keeps reaching for dramatic energy that keeps eluding him.
  31. It takes what could be called the Chinese equivalent of chutzpah to make a movie with three of the world's most beautiful and talented women -- Gong Li, Maggie Cheung and Zhang Ziyi -- and to be more interested in the male character.
  32. Even the art house crowd will find the film off-putting not only because of its vagueness but because of its thoroughly unlikable characters.
  33. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    The overall effect simply underlines the central weakness of the pic: that the neo-kitschy futuristic scenes don't add much to the real-life '60s relationships.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 94 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 36
  2. Negative: 9 out of 36
  1. GlennL
    Nov 14, 2009
    2046 has so much truth in it, that hit hits almost to close to home for many people. For first time viewers, the plot with Wong Kar-wai is 2046 has so much truth in it, that hit hits almost to close to home for many people. For first time viewers, the plot with Wong Kar-wai is easier to follow if you realizes he has 2 (some might argue 4) stories running together. So that is a lot of "plot" to keep track of unless you really pay attention (it took several viewings or me to grasp it all). One story (the main one) is with Faye Wong, and the Japanese boyfriend; the second is with Zhang Ziyi. The third is Maggie Cheun (link to In the Mood for Love), and the fourth is with In the Days of Being Wild, Carina Lau. In fact the sequel to Days of Being Wild (which was never done) is quickly recapped using Carina's characters. So that is a lot to follow. This a wonderfully filmed with just outstanding music .. the soundtrack is extremely good, I recommend it. It is also noteworthy to not see 2046 as a sequel to the movies it's obviously linked too -- but more an "echo" as Wong Kar-wai has said. Also, all the stories DO come together at the end very nicely. Full Review »
  2. MadC.
    Dec 3, 2005
    Giving it low points just because of the legth is annoying. Then LOTR should also deserve a 1 for being so long. Well, lucky there's Giving it low points just because of the legth is annoying. Then LOTR should also deserve a 1 for being so long. Well, lucky there's subtitles, I'm Chinese but I dont understand the language.. I loved this movie a lot, its beautiful. The visuals were something and Zhang Ziyi was just amazing. Faye Wong's part as the girl (not the robot) was really good, I loved the cast. The futuristic parts make no sense to me though, thankfully they're short. Really romantic movie, excellent. Full Review »
  3. JeffJ.
    Sep 16, 2005
    Just short of a classic. Parts of this movie are so brilliant that they seem like a reinvention of the whole concept of movie making. The Just short of a classic. Parts of this movie are so brilliant that they seem like a reinvention of the whole concept of movie making. The first third, in particular, is breathtaking. The way the whole screen is used to compose the shots, the way the camera lingers on someone's facial reactions, the lighting and sound -- it's all masterful. It's well worth seeing it just for the technique. Unfortunately, it kind of slows down and dissipates in the last half, and left me somewhat lost. I simply didn't feel any connection with the main character, who never seems to make up his mind what to do. What does he really feel? Maybe there was some kind of cultural signal that I missed. Still, Wong Kar Wai is clearly one of the great directors, and the talent is dripping off the screen. Oh, and there are lots of gorgeous women in it, too. Who cares if it doesn't make complete sense? See it. Full Review »