34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
A yaoi manga set in real life: tragically beautiful,
This review is from: Mandragora  [DVD] (DVD)DISCLAIMER:
Any unauthorized reproduction of my review (also in excerpts) will have legal consequences! The author.
I don't think Mr. Grodecki had the intention of turning one of the famous/famed Japanese boy love manga into a movie. But it surely looks as if he did!
The plot is simple: a runaway boy gets trapped in the vicious circle of prostitution, alcohol and drugs as he goes from rags to riches and back again. Still, the many sub-plots almost overload the film with high-piched drama and heartbreak. Everything you can think of in the Rise And Fall spectrum is there: seduction, rape, addiction, lust, perversion, betrayal, violent death, true love and fake love.
Still, the natural acting style of the non-professional performers (mostly RL hustlers and pimps) prevents "Mandragora" from being just another smooth, polished "coming-of-age-in-the-gutter" flick. To watch the kids wallow alternately in high hopes of wealth and suffer unspeakable pains when their hopes are crushed truly is heartwrenching.
This movie is not for the voyeur who finds pleasure in seeing the decline of appetizing, sexy youngsters. Far from being sexy and stimulating, it is brutal, merciless and harrowing - yet the film possesses a kind of tragic beauty and achingly beautiful melancholy.
I recommend "Mandragora" not only to fellow yaoi manga lovers but to everyone who is unafraid to go through the heights and depths of a revealing, pleasantly "old-fashioned" drama.