Loved Like a Flower Bouquet Full Movie

Screenwriter Yuji Sakamoto penned one of the ripest melodramas of the 2000s, “Crying Out Love in the Center of the World,” before deciding that writing for the pocket-size screen was more rewarding. Afterward over a decade spent creating the kinds of dramas that give Japanese TV a good proper name (yes, they exist), he’s returned to picture palace with his first original movie script.

It’south a fact sufficiently noteworthy for Sakamoto’southward name to appear ahead of manager Nobuhiro Doi’s in the publicity for “I Fell in Love Like a Bloom Boutonniere.” The latter is no dilettante, with an extensive TV resume besides as movie credits including “Be With You” (2004) and “Flying Colors” (2015).

Notwithstanding this intimate, low-stakes romantic drama could almost exist mistaken for a low-budget indie film — assuming that viewers manage to overlook the impeccable production values and presence of two A-list stars, Kasumi Arimura and Masaki Suda.

I Fell in Love Like a Flower Boutonniere
(Hanataba Mitaina Koi o Shita)

Run Fourth dimension 124 mins.
Language Japanese
Opens Jan. 29

They play university students Kinu (Arimura) and Mugi (Suda), who come across-cute in 2015 later on missing their last train dwelling, then spend five years trying to navigate the rocky passage into adulthood together. The story starts later the cease of their relationship, so in that location’south no mystery near how things volition pan out, and this cognition lends a bittersweet tang to the extended flashback that follows.

Romance blooms in the idyll of undergrad life, as the pair detect that their cultural tastes are uncannily well-aligned. They segue easily from discussing favorite books and movies to making declarations of love, though their affection slowly withers as real-world responsibilities intrude.

First impressions to the contrary, it’southward Mugi who tries to go direct, trading in his dream of becoming an illustrator for a sales job. Kinu is leery of both the idea of getting hitched and of devoting herself to a career she doesn’t savor. (An actress with slightly more edge than Arimura, who’s as wholesome as it gets, might have washed a better job of selling this.)

Sakamoto seems to take been paying attention to younger filmmakers such equally Rikiya Imaizumi, an avid chronicler of the vagaries of modern love. Like a veteran popular star pinching moves from voguish acts, “I Brutal in Love Like a Flower Bouquet” is both less authentic and more straightforwardly enjoyable than the films information technology resembles.

It doesn’t suffer from the narrative longueurs of much Japanese indie picture palace (Imaizumi’s included), or the delusion that it’s offering any deeper insights than it is. The script is snappily written, and uses Kinu and Mugi’s overlapping voiceovers to generate the odd moment of sense of humour or dramatic irony.

Eager to prove its hipster cred, the motion-picture show slips in references to everything from Tokyo indie-pop band Awesome City Club (who besides make an appearance) to the Nintendo Switch and Netflix’s “Stranger Things ii.” It’s all very period-appropriate, while leaving the impression that Sakamoto was checking culturally relevant items off an Excel spreadsheet as he went forth.

For all the surfeit of well-observed particular, Kinu and Mugi never feel like people you might actually meet. The couple’s zipper to physical media is the real giveaway: they may look like millennials, but they’re Generation X kids at heart. And the picture itself is that strangest of creatures: a slacker movie that’due south trying merely a little too hard.

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