2046 is the number of a hotel room that a writer uses for inspiration to write 2046, a scifi story about a journey on a train to 2046, a place to recover lost memories. On the train are androids with whom travellers "must never fall in love."
If the film had focused on the train and the androids, I'd have been able to see the film I expected to see. Instead, 2046 is about a man who treats women as objects and will not let himself fall in love.
Many reviewers will tell you this is a beautiful, moving film; I will not. There were a few scenes which were beautiful, some that were moving, and some that were jarring. Mostly, the scenes were long. Wong Kar Wai draws out the action and the inaction in life -- a woman considers a draw on a cigarette, s-l-o-w-l-y brings the cigarette to her lips, takes a drag then slowly watches the smoke she blows into the air. Then the writer says , "Sometimes scenes from my life show up in my work," and we see the same woman, in a different costume, take the same impossibly long drag of a cigarette.
I kept wondering when it would end. The writer, Chow, kept talking about different women he had mistreated and each time a relationship ended, I thought, "OK, roll credits!" and another scene would open. The long feel of the film combined with of seeing a drama-romance when I was prepared for a scifi mindbender resulted a big disappointment.
I'm sure there is an audience who will love this film -- I just can't count myself in it.