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The Lady Improper

Opening Date
04 Apr 2019
R21 Sexual Scenes
108 mins
Cantonese with English & Chinese subtitles
Tsui Shan Tsang
Charlene Choi, Wu Kang Ren, Lau Wing, Ceci Lee
Siu-man (Charlene Choi) is a gynaecology nurse, who’s marriage has fallen apart due to a non-existent sex life. When her father (legendary action star Lau Wing) is hospitalised, she is forced to run his cha-chaan-teng (Hong Kong style diner). But how can Siu-man, who’s been forbidden to enter the kitchen since childhood, recreate her father’s signature dishes? Unexpected help comes in the form of Chia-hao (Wu Kang- jen), a hunky Paris-trained Cordon Bleu chef who arouses both her appetite and her desire. She realises that she must tackle her fear of intimacy head-on. 
Hong Kong may be a high-tech, cosmopolitan city, but old-fashioned Confucian morality dies hard. Independent filmmaker Jessey Tsang’s courageous and tantalising new work delves into sex phobia and female repression – subjects often swept under the carpet in Asian society. The film is also a love song to the humble yet heavenly flavours of Hong Kong cuisine.
By Say Peng  01 Apr 2019
A sensitive and sincere portrayal of a modern woman’s struggle with her sexuality.
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Hong Kong director Jessey Tsang’s ‘The Lady Improper’ stars singer-actress Charlene Choi (‘77 Heartbreaks’) in the role of Siu Man, a sexually repressed woman who, for unknown psychological reasons, has been unable to consummate her marriage with her husband (Deep Ng). Frustrated, her husband divorces her.

At her father’s restaurant where Siu Man works, a new chef, Jiahao, played by Taiwanese actor Wu Kang-jen (‘White Ant’) joins the kitchen. Educated in culinary school in France, Jiahao’s free-spirited and casually flirtatious ways at first gets on Siu Man’s nerves. But slowly, Jiahao’s charms start to work on her. Siu Man and Jiahao start to bond over the shared love for food, with Jiahao determined to recreate Siu Man’s chef father’s signature dishes.

One night, she accidentally stumbles upon Jiahao having passionate sex in the kitchen, and she starts to see him in a different light. Soon, as expected, she slowly opens herself to him and he somehow is able to get her to overcome her guardedness and they have intercourse.

Choi handles her role well, putting in an understated but incredibly focused performance. The script lacks certain psychological motives and insight and it is Choi’s performance that plugs the gap and lends her character believability.

Notwithstanding a heavy-handed score, ‘The Lady Improper’ is a sensitive and sincere portrayal of a modern woman’s struggle with her sexuality.
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