13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
All alone in a city of millions,
This review is from: Like Someone in Love [DVD] (DVD)
If you're familiar with modern Japanese arthouse movies or written literature, then the style and strangeness of this film won't be totally surprisingly. So if you enjoyed Norwegian Wood then Like Someone In Love won't seem too weird. The extended monologues, long silences, extended driving sequences and static filming won't appeal to everyone however, especially as it's one of those films which kinda starts in the middle and finishes before the end...
Like Someone In Love is a series of extended character pieces which explores overlapping lives of different generations in modern day Tokyo. There's a country girl who has come to the city to escape rural monotony and limited opportunities, and she's ended up providing escort services to older gentlemen at night while cramming in sociology studies during the day. Her jealous boyfriend knows he's being given the run-around but doesn't quite understand how. Her worried grandmother has travelled all the way to the big city, unannounced, to visit. And Akiko has a special appointment that evening with an elderly scholar - a widower, we think, lonely in his apartment, with only his work and an annoying neighbour.
As is the way with such films, each of these threads is far more than I've just described, and they trace patterns of loss, hope, self-obsession, love, grief, selfless dedication and a whole lot more in between the generations. There's an enormous amount of talking - some remarkable performances are given one-sided, on the phone - and an equal amount of not talking, when communication totally collapses.
But this isn't a depressing or even particularly sad story - indeed, there's some sequences which are gently and wistfully humorous. Some moments are just plain funny: the older chap spends all day making soup, a delicacy from her childhood, he hopes. `I always hated that' she says and dismisses it in an instant. Ouch. But ouch with a wry smile.
Like Someone In Love tilts away from outright depression and rather more towards a poignant inevitability of miscommunication, and the tangle of emotional upheaval which can last a lifetime. It includes some beautifully shot sequences - like when Akiko drives past her grandmother, twice, and listens repeatedly to the messages left on her voicemail. That's as close as she can come to close personal contact - a slightly sinister observation about modern cultural development and increasing levels of isolation.
Gentle, clever, thought-provoking and entertaining, this film also gave us a glimpse of modern day Tokyo and Japanese society. Overall, we loved it, but if you're not used to watching Japanese-language drama, then you may find it somewhat slow and stilted.