‘Lilting’ – film review

Lilting (UK 2015)

lilting-poster01Lilting is the kind of drama that independent cinema so often strives for, but rarely achieves.

The plot is fairly simple and straightforward. Kai (Andrew Leung) is a closeted gay man who lives with his lover Ben in London. He has put his widowed mother Junn (Pei-Pei Cheng) in an assisted living facility temporarily until he can broach the subject of his sexual orientation prior to moving her in with Ben and himself. But, before Kai can do this he dies unexpectedly leaving Ben to care for Junn, a herculean task given that she speaks no English and he speaks no Chinese.

What starts as a film about a simple language barrier slowly escalates into a clash of cultures, sexual identities, and generational divisions brought to the fore by grief, loneliness and buried secrets.

Nominated for a BAFTA and a British Independent Film Award, and winner of the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film, Queer Lisboa awards for Director Hong Khaou and actress Pei-Pei Cheng, and the Cinematography and Grand Jury Prizes for World Cinema at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Lilting does more than just show how even a decade and a half into the 21st Century, “coming out” can still fraught with difficulty in the most cosmopolitan of Western societies; it shows how our inclination to spare people pain by concealing things often leads to more pain and complications in the long run.

Eric J. Chatterjee
Aug. 10, 2016
Programming Advisor
Cincinnati Film Society

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