Movie review of “Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong”: An audience might want to see romance flourish between this film’s two garrulous characters, but writer-director zooms in on deeper mysteries of attraction and ambivalence. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.

Share story

An audience for the ambitious if expectations-defying “Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong” can be forgiven for wishing one or the other of the film’s two garrulous characters — toy designer Ruby (Jamie Chung) and banker Josh (Bryan Greenberg), clearly attracted to one another — would shut up and kiss.

Conditioned as we are by scores of will-they-or-won’t-they romantic comedies about bumpy courtships, it’s natural to want a pair of likable people to get together, even if it takes time. But things aren’t quite so simple in “Already Tomorrow.”

Ruby and Josh are 30-something Americans living and working in Hong Kong. They meet one night and take a long walk, which comprises the film’s first half.

Movie Review ★★★  

‘Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong,’ with Jamie Chung, Bryan Greenberg. Written and directed by Emily Ting. 79 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. Varsity.

The second half is another walk a year later.

Writer-director Emily Ting does a wonderful job of setting the emotional privacy of Josh and Ruby’s slow journeys — sharing unfulfilled dreams, teasing, flirting — against great, electrifying swaths of Hong Kong’s cityscape and teeming streets. The city becomes both visually and narratively complicit in the developing relationship, an epic backdrop for personal possibility and reinvention.

By the time Josh and Ruby meet again, he has become a writer — a sign that Ruby, who encouraged him, got under his skin. Neither is technically free to be with the other, yet they know there is something substantial to their mutual draw. But what to do about it?

Ting, to her credit, is more interested in the battle between heart and head, instinct and obligation, than in what follows. “Already Tomorrow” is about ambivalence, not gratification, and is more interesting for it.