To what extent can a film endorse an act it refuses to show? That's the question prompted by Arvin Chen's gay dramedy "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?," which advocates closeted homosexuals to come out but is so eye-loweringly demure about same-sex desire it may as well have been made under the Hays Code.
Two men kiss just once in "Tomorrow." In a fantasy sequence, married optometrist Weichung (Richie Ren) locks lips with flight attendant Thomas (Wong Ka-Lok). It's a wonderfully wistful scene — a stolen moment of impulsive affection witnessed only by dozens of empty eyeglasses — but it's marred by the fact that their smooch is about as passionate as a little girl kissing her teddy bear good night. Chen's excessive propriety veers treacherously close to barely disguised repulsion.
The film isn't concerned with sex, but family. The biggest obstacle to Weichung's exit from the closet is his possible separation from his toddler son. Lucky for him, Weichung has a wife (Mavis Fan) who is wholly sympathetic to his plight without ever flattening herself into a doormat.
"I haven't been gay in a long time. I used to be. Then I stopped," Weichung informs Thomas in the latter's hotel room. Weichung's flirtations with a world outside the confines of respectability are touchingly and compassionately told. Too bad flirting is as far as the film will let him go.
"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" No MPAA rating. In Mandarin with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 46 minutes. At AMC Atlantic Times Square 14 in Monterey Park. Also on VOD.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times