BPL Movie Review: Long Day Journey Into Night
By William Anthony| Central Library Citizen Services Department
When some people hear the title, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, they probably think about the play that Eugene O’Neill wrote. Bi Gan’s sophomore film of the same title is not a remake of this classic play. Instead, this film reminisces on a long-lost love that stays with its central character, Luo Hongwu, who also deals with personal losses.
Set in Guizhou, China, Luo searches for an elegant, mysterious woman named Wan Qiwen. His precious memories spent with Wan flood his mind during his journey to find her current whereabouts. He cannot let go of that one romantic summer that he spent with Wan.
Luo’s conversations with people like a prisoner and a hotel manager help him recollect why she left a lasting impression on him. Luo still feels the heaviness of her absence.
During the last hour of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Luo wanders into a movie theater, puts on a pair of 3D glasses and enters another ethereal world that mirrors his desires. The dream sequence consists of an unbroken continuous shot that lasts for this film’s final half. This breathtaking long take shows Luo flying and hovering over a remote city where a nighttime karaoke party takes place.
The movie’s latter half made me forget about real life. It plunged me into this exquisite, neon-lit citadel where Luo spends time with a karaoke girl who clearly represents Wan. Such an unconventional story offers new insight into how people cherish falling in love and long for what they remember from these brief but special seasons in life.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night is a slow burner that will make you reflect on the power of the most extraordinary relationships in our lives.
Long Day's Journey Into Night was a surprise hit in China, earning a record $38 million its debut day on December 31, 2018. The film was released in the United States in April 2019.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night is available to stream on Kanopy.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night is also available to borrow on DVD in the Jefferson County Library Cooperative, which includes all 18 Birmingham Public Library (BPL) locations.
Click below to view a movie trailer of Long Day’s Journey Into Night: