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After watching this movie... I can kind of understand why Sawajiri Erika was in such a bad mood during that notorious movie premier incident. I personally am a big fan of Japanese Junai ("Pure love") genre films, but this is among the worst Junai movie I've ever watched.
The setting of this movie is very promising, and I love the idea of tracing another person's life through a diary, but the story ended up grossly predictable with a series of clichés and corny lines. Even worse, character behaviors and story development in this film are extremely unnatural. It is true there were many touching scenes, but there were way too many plot holes and elaborate plot devices required to fit these scenes into the story. All the characters' behaviors were totally erratic... Why did Ishitobi bring Kae flowers and couldn't give it to her if he didn't love her at all? How did the notebook end up behind the mirror if Ibuki died in an accident with it? And worst of all, how can Kae's character start reading that letter in the art exhibition in that situation? That is exactly what Japanese people call "KY", not being able to read the atmosphere. And that mass throwing of paper planes from school? Give me a break. Characters' actions just didn't make sense and it was so corny, it was impossible for me to watch this movie without sneering. I'm sure Sawajiri Erika didn't expect this movie to turn out like this when she signed up to star in a Yukisada Isao film.
Another thing that really bothered me was how draggy this film was. I have seen and enjoyed couple of films that are longer than its 2:20 duration, but this one felt MUCH longer. There definitely wasn't enough material to cover such a long play time and it was so poorly directed that it's hard to believe it was produced by the same person who made "Sekai no Chuushin...".
It was a disaster as a movie, but acting in general was decent. Takeuchi Yuuko, especially, managed to shine. The mysterious teacher role suit her very well, just like in "Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu", and she didn't seem out of place like in every other role she's been in. Scenery in this film, especially the river and apartment scenes were quite beautiful and calming, though colors for the entire film was slightly over-saturated. I also liked the transitions from the present to the past events recorded in the notebook. Unfortunately, these small bits of successes were not enough to save this film.
I expected much more from Yukisada Isao, I'm sure Erika-sama felt the same way when she answered "not really" to all questions during the premier. It truly is "not really" a remarkable film. The ending of this movie was also very empty and unsatisfying considering it was a Junai film. What this movie really lacked was intensity, especially since YUI's great theme song for this movie was so intense.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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