Two charming leads explore a gorgeous foreign city on foot while talking about life and developing a romance: It's Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong seems destined to draw comparisons to Richard Linklater's Before films, so I may as well address that in the first sentence of this review. While not quite as overtly philosophical as Linklater's trilogy, writer/director Emily Ting's own riff on the concept has a lot of the same magic, and for those who are looking for a film that explores modern love without relying on excessive cliches of the genre, this should work just fine.
Ruby (Jamie Chung) is an American visiting Hong Kong for the first time. Stranded at a bar by her friends and utterly lost, she meets Josh (Bryan Greenberg), an American ex-pat who's been living in Hong Kong for ten years. He offers to walk her to her destination, and through naturalistic dialogue and a series of long unbroken takes, the two quickly discover that they have a real connection. I won't spoil the beats of the movie, but suffice it to say that some conflicts are introduced and the two ultimately have to make an important decision about their future together.
Ting and her DP perpetually put the city's lights on the edges of the frame, giving the movie an ethereal quality that lends itself well to the atmosphere of two young people in love. I don't know the city of Hong Kong very well, but leisurely wandering through its streets with these characters is a pleasant experience. The film doesn't aim to teach us anything serious about Chinese culture — it's solely about two Americans searching to find themselves with Hong Kong as a backdrop — but It's Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong is shot in such a way that makes the city feel intoxicating.
I haven't seen all of her films, but this is the first time I've really enjoyed a performance from Chung: her smile is mesmerizing, and though we don't get to know Ruby quite as well as Josh, it's easy to see why he'd be captivated by her. Greenberg has a real John Krasinski vibe to him, with big ears and an affable, goofy persona. This is the first I've ever seen him, and if this movie does nothing else, hopefully it will serve as a launchpad for these two talented actors to get more work in the future (ideally working together, since they make a great pair).
It's Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong doesn't break any new ground narratively, but it's a nice entry into the "two pretty young people fall in love in a gorgeous city" subgenre, comforting in its enchanting depiction of two lonely people in an unfamiliar place who recognize something in each other that not everyone else can see.