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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Korean love fantasy with Japanese actors

7/10
Author: zunitrail-1 from Japan
6 February 2010

As my title implies, this is a kind of a complicated movie with an extremely simple plot. A man marries one woman but loves another. I suppose it's how it happens that makes or breaks the movie. Korean director Lee became known in Japan for his Korean-made film hit, "The Eraser in my Head," a story of a young woman with a case of early-age Altzheimer's and her lover-then-husband who is always there for her. In both movies, one is strongly encouraged to not think about the details, but rather the dynamics between the characters involved. In "Sayonara," most of which takes place in Bangkok in 1975 among a small Japanese community and their Thai friends, one gets the impression that we are not supposed to think about the why or how, but the what. Who is Touko, the mysterious older woman who seems to have an unlimited amount of money at her disposal? Why does Yutaka, working as an expat for an airline, live in a apartment seemingly for lower income Thai folks when he should be rich by local standards? How old is he, for cryin' out loud? He is obviously over 30, but just got engaged and is a freshman employee. Why does he have a body like Bruce Lee?? Why does Touko fly back to New York merely at Mitsuko's (Yutaka's fiancée) bequest? And what business does she have in New York? Why should Yutaka's son become a rock star?? None of the above is ever explained, but it all makes for a sumptuous and sexy movie, obviously Lee's intent. It starts out rather slowly, but the superb acting of the well- known actors draws the viewer in rather craftily. Surprisingly we are taken 25 years into the future to be shown that Touko and Yutaka haven't forgotten each other, but the movie would just have well ended in 1975. But with Nishijima as Yutaka and Nakayama as Touko, nobody's complaining.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Movie

10/10
Author: teichou-419-234259 from Earth
10 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just watched this movie today on Netflix. I was pleasantly surprised.

I agree with the first review in that the movie is much less focused on the details and more on the relationships between the characters. It is one of those movies where you just need to sit down for the ride, and just watch what happens. Its sort of like watching a horror movie or thriller, and wondering why the people do things to get themselves killed or murdered. You don't ask questions, you just watch the movie for what it is.

With regards to the second review, I don't understand why the viewer was disappointed when they watched a total of 20 minutes of the movie. To call this movie garbage is completely unacceptable. Just like with books, if you skip pages in between events you're going to see everything out of context. The same is very true for Sayonara Itsuka. You won't get any of the symbolic references they make in this movie if you don't watch it through. The best part is that almost all of them seem innocuous and almost trivial when they are first introduced. Those symbols are then re-introduced imbued with deep meaning at integral points during the movie's progression. I could go on with specifics, and I will agree that I definitely thought Yutaka Higashigaito was a sleaze for cheating on his fiancée. But at the end, I could relate to him, and even pondered if I wanted to continue my life as an office drone climbing the corporate ladder.

Sayonara Itsuka when watched from beginning to end with an open mind is a cleverly and beautifully crafted and movie.

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Not Your Classic Love Story

5/10
Author: ehsu from US
19 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How was a movie like this made? First, it was a Korean production featuring a predominantly Japanese cast speaking Japanese and filmed in Thailand. Second, the love story was between a divorced gold digging big spending lady and a soon to be married gold digging junior corporate drone. Just thinking about it leaves me shaking my head.

The movie (or actors) do a fair job of drawing the audience into the story, but the story itself is just too wild. Logically thinking, how can you feel sympathy for these two characters.

She is a divorced gold digger who lives in a hotel suite and spends money recklessly on whatever she pleases. She is introduced to the male lead knowing he is soon to be married while the male leads best friend is trying to woo her.

He is a junior corporate drone who is engaged to a wealthy lady in what the audience probably alludes as a strategic decision to rise rapidly the corporate ladder. He is soon to be married and just needs to keep his pants on for a few months until the marriage consumes.

Then their relationship starts when he hits a homerun during a friendly US-Japan airline employee game in which she is rooting for the US team and he fails to be a team player and listen to his coaches strategy. She picks up the homerun ball, finds out where he lives, and walks into his apartment immediately taking off her underwear and the relationship begins.

Anyway, its incredible that such a plot and relationship between such impure souls strives to create a pure love story. You have to give the actors credit as they try and at times the audience may get caught into it, but for me, the story was way too far-fetched.

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Disappointed

4/10
Author: aglobalcitizen from world
17 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I apologize for writing a negative review. First of all, I know I have no right to write a review because I did not watch the whole movie. But I did watch the final scene and some parts. On the other hand, somebody said that you don't need to finish eating the egg to know that it is rotten. Okay, this movie is NOT a rotten egg, but I was utterly disappointed.

First of all, the reason I have decided to watch this movie is because I am absolutely in love (or obsessed) about the movie A Moment to Remember (an Eraser in My Head) by the same director.

I also watch many Korean and some Japanese dramas, so it was interesting for me how the director would handle Japanese actors. Would he be able to bring them to life with magic of his personal touch?

So, here is my verdict: even though the director is using the same techniques, the mood is completely different. He still uses slow moving shots, inside out angles, looking through the window shots, colors and sounds. I enjoyed a very nice restaurant scene where the singer is performing - for a brief second I thought he was able to capture the mood. But only for a second.

Now for the bad stuff: okay, I know there is some animosity between Korean and Japanese still lingering deep down, or even on the surface and in abundance, but to see such a drastic departure from his storytelling style just because the main characters are Japanese... Mr. Lee - you cannot hate them THAT MUCH. Was it your revenge for everything that Japanese did to your country or this just happened because you could not work with Japanese actors?

Let me compare: A Moment To Remember is a gentle, subtle, sweet and innocent story about TRUE love in its purest form. You can't help but cry in the end. You feel like you have just tasted some crystal clear water from the mountains.

Sayonara Itsuka is about lust, dirty intentions and the lowest human instincts. So basically it is a story of two people having sex. Or rather, not two people but two actors. No matter how hard I tried, I could not feel for them. Yes, the guy is handsome, but the way he acted creates nothing but a feeling of disgust. There is absolutely no love present in the movie. Even when he cries in the end - I could not feel anything. I mean, yes, some people are like that, I am sure - but do I have to watch it? Why making the main character, who just happens to be Japanese, a filthy playboy? Why not to make him a good guy, so the audience could fall in love with him? Even if this movie is intended for male audience, I still cannot get over all this wasted potential. And what about the main actress, seductively taking off her underwear when the guy is wearing only a towel (and then no longer even a towel)? Why making her a whore? Is that all you can do?

Com'on Mr. Lee, you can do better than this. You have in the past. You ought to. For the sake of humanity and Korean cinematography. I expect another gem from you, not some garbage like this.

Okay, I did not give out too many spoilers, but let me assure you - my time was wasted. __________________________________________________

To all people who think that I should have watched the entire movie - here is my reply:

Once I got to a certain point, my disgust was so unbearable, I could not take it anymore. It was not worth my time. I only watched so much because of my respect for the Korean director and was hugely disappointed.

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