After graduating from high school, Shiro is clueless how to proceed with his education. For the moment, he takes a small job at a local gas station, to much displease of his parents. His ... See full summary »
After graduating from high school, Shiro is clueless how to proceed with his education. For the moment, he takes a small job at a local gas station, to much displease of his parents. His America-idolizing grandmother however gives Shiro all support, as she believes that "gas stations are a romantic place for wanderers". Grandmother is right about romance, when a girl called Noriko comes to work at the gas station too, after she broke up with her boyfriend. Shiro develops a huge crush on Noriko, and with this bitter-sweet first love, Shiro enters maturity. Written by
Girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice, but of course there are those laced with wasabi that will hit you when you least expect it to. Based on the novel by Eimi Yamada, Sugar & Spice is not your conventional romantic drama, not that it's because it's not the usual boy-meets-girl-they-hook-up-boy-loses-girl-boy-tries-to-win-girl-back kind of movie, but because it takes a long hard look at a certain condition, and that's the rebound.
And perhaps many would have disliked the movie because it touches that raw nerve, either you're the perpetrator, or the victim of. There are limited amount of fan favourite saccharine sweet moments, and instead, lessons dished out were plentiful, which does get try as it tends to nag. Obviously, the movie is hinging on the star appeal of the teenage lovers, Shiro (Yuya Yagira, who won a Best Actor award from Cannes with his portrayal in Nobody Knows), and hot model-actress-musician Erika Sawajiri as Noriko, and therefore perhaps paid little attention to the pacing, which turned out to be erratic, and treading on the route to art-house styled contemplation, longing and scenes of regret.
Shiro is a student at the crossroads of his life - whether to enroll in cram school to prepare for higher education, or to follow a small step towards his dream of working with cars. He opts for the latter, and finds himself as a pump attendant at a gas station. Noriko becomes the new apprentice at the station, and needless to say, Shiro gets smitten by the newcomer. But the catch here is that this is Shiro's first stab at a relationship, and while he is brought up to be nice, girls hate wimps, don't they? And Noriko's no angel either, having just been out of a rocky relationship with a relatively richer guy, and now having to be stuck with Shiro. Every step of the way, you wonder if she's on the rebound, and just grabbing at whoever is conveniently available at the time. Indecisiveness abound, but more often than not, cold hard logic prevails and it boils down to practicality, and materialism.
The story finds itself spending quality time with an examination of first love, and the pain that it usually brings, especially when one finds oneself drawing the stick with the shorter end. It's heartbreaking, but the story encourages one to learn from mistakes, and to move on, though it presented this thought quite clumsily. The scene stealer here belongs to Mari Natsuki as the free loving, hippy grandma of Shiro, who drives a hot rod of a vehicle and has a toy boy to boot (for a 70 year old!). She dispenses advice to both parties, and drawing on her past experiences to do so, teaching her grandson to know when to be a gentleman, and when the time's come to be tough.
It serves as a reminder to all those out there who still nurses a broken heart, to cherish those (previous) memories, but not to ditch the forest for the tree. While the proceedings seem more bleak throughout, the light at the end of the tunnel provided much needed hope to lift the movie from its dark tones. And the soundtrack just puts a smile to my face too.
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