This one is hard for me. It’s a good movie, but I have trouble recommending it. It has clever cinematography, great dialogue, and just a general realness that draws you into what is really a bare-bones story. Still, there are a few artistic decisions that are just stuff that rubs me the wrong way and prevent me from truly enjoying it.
Okay so Rin Takanashi plays a young college student who pays for tuition by moonlighting as a prostitute. One of her clients, an elderly man (Tadashi Okuno,) doesn’t want to sleep with her, but instead just wants someone to talk to. They become BFFsies, much to the chagrin of Taknashi’s crazy-jealous boyfriend (Ryo Kase.)
It’s short… kinda?
The first thing that stands out about this movie is how small it is. I don’t mean short, it’s a fairly long movie at around two hours and whatever minutes. It is, however, very small in scope. It’s almost structured like a short-film, with only three main characters of note, and basically a single problem or conflict. Normally I would be a fan of this decision, since I love focused movies that don’t get distracted with a bunch of dumb pointless junk. And though the movie is definitely focused, there is a lot of extra…stuff that to my untrained dumb guy eye seems pointless. I’ll get more into that later.
I hope you “Love” people looking out car windows.
So let me put this out there right now: I am not a fancy film student major guy. I’m a simple man. I am not the kind of guy who can articulate why stuff like “cinematography” is effective. I can tell you what I thought was neat, and then you can agree if you also think it’s neat. What’s cool about it is how fixed the camera is. The most interesting shots here are long, single take shots of a static environment. The camera will be showing the inside of a restaurant, and characters will walk in and out of frame as the scene goes on, but the camera won’t follow. Character’s will talk to people off-screen, and the audience is left out of whatever people do when they’re off camera. It creates a sense of voyeurism that I haven’t seen in a lot of films. I like it a lot.
Another thing I enjoyed is the almost effortless nature of the dialogue. Maybe this is also a part of the actors ability, but everything feels very real. It may be because a lot of it deals with uncertainty. Everyone is struggling to find what they want in this film, even the Kindly Old Man figure feels like he is just making up his advice as it goes along. The entire film just feels so authentic.
I also hope you “Love” looking at that old guy.
And thaaat’s where my main problem lies, oddly enough. As real as it is, it feels a little too real. That sounds dumb, I know, but there are honestly parts where the realism actually hurt my connection to the film. Remember how I said there are long, uncut shots? Those shots are long. Sometimes ponderously so, and sometimes there is hardly anything happening in them. There’s literally a scene where Old Guy falls asleep at his steering wheel, and we are treated to a full minute and a half of him dozing off. A lot of the dialogue too, feels like it could have been cut. A lot of conversations were full of repetition and needless little tidbits. Sometimes reality sucks. That’s why we go see fake as heck movies. Of course, to balance out the negative, this slow deliberate pace is absolutely shattered by the terrific ending. The sudden impact of it really makes you wonder if the entire movie up until this point was just lulling you into security for this one punch to the gut. It’s really cool.
So yeah, “Like Someone In Love” has a lot going for it. When the dialogue is moving it’s great, and the sharp focus on distinct characters really will get you invested. However, it’s tough to enjoy it when everything is stretched out to sometimes an absurd degree. If you think you dig that though, you will probably love it.
My Rating: 7.5/10