It’s not an easy feat to build a love story around two characters who are never explicitly dating and never even kiss on-screen, but writer/director Emily Ting has done just that with “It’s Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong.”
The film opens with Ruby, a toy designer from the States, standing outside of a bar trying to figure out how to get to the bar her friends are at. Josh, an ex-pat business man, overhears and offers to point her in the right direction before eventually offering to take her there himself. The “meet cute” is slightly forced, and the opening scene seems a little rushed, but it serves the purpose of getting Ruby and Josh out on their first evening together.
The chemistry between Ruby and Josh is clear from the get-go, perhaps influenced by the fact that they’re played by real life couple Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg. The film plays like the first date that dreams are made of—in the grand tradition of films where the night seems to stretch forever, the connection between Ruby and Josh feels effortless. Their conversation flows freely as they both open up about how where they are in life stacks up against the goals they had set for themselves. Under Emily Ting’s direction, the energy between the couple is so intimate that the moments when they interact with other characters seem like intrusions, and it’s not until those moments pop up that you realize for the majority of the film, Ruby and Josh speak only to each other. Even throughout the crowded landscape of Hong Kong, Ting keeps the focus tight on the characters so that whether they’re walking through a busy market or a crowded bar they still feel like the only couple in Hong Kong.
Timing is the central force in the film; the relationship between Ruby and Josh seems to be moving faster in response to the frenzied environment surrounding the main characters. Despite the fact that the movie only follows the couple through two nights of chance meetings, spaced one year apart, the hours they do spend together seem to accomplish more than the years they’ve spent dating other people have. The title plays on this feeling, suggesting that they’re moving faster because they’re on Hong Kong time, but the film itself gives the impression that the nights they spend together exist outside of time altogether. When they’re dragged back to reality and forced to rejoin the world, Ruby and Josh are forced to decide which time zone they want to stay in.
“It’s Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong” premieres June 12th at the LA Film Festival
Written & Directed By: Emily Ting
Starring: Jamie Chung & Bryan Greenberg