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Asian cinema: Japanese films

Film review: My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday – Sota Fukushi, Nana Komatsu in surprisingly profound romantic fantasy

Lead pair star as young lovers, but all is not as it seems in this adaptation of a best-selling Japanese novel that has echoes of anime fantasy blockbuster Your Name

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 December, 2017, 7:04am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 December, 2017, 7:04am

4/5 stars

A pair of young lovers find themselves caught at the crossroads of two intersecting realities in the disarming romantic fantasy My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday, adapted by Takahiro Miki ( Blue Spring Ride ) from Takafumi Nanatsuki’s best-selling novel.

Sota Fukushi ( To Each His Own ) plays Takatoshi, a Kyoto art student who spies the beautiful Emi (Nana Komatsu, Drowning Love ) on a train and, in an action that’s completely out of character for the awkward 20-year-old, approaches her and asks her out. Much to his surprise, Emi agrees to see Takatoshi the next day, and the pair soon become inseparable.

With each passing day, Takatoshi notices strange quirks in Emi’s behaviour. She is easily reduced to tears by the slightest romantic gesture, and keeps a detailed diary of their future, as-yet-unexperienced dates together.

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When confronted, Emi confesses that all is not what it seems. She comes from an alternate reality, intersecting with our world every five years for 30 days at a time. What’s more, her life is moving in reverse, so she is getting younger, meaning that her yesterday is Takatoshi’s tomorrow.

Echoing the mind-bending fantasies of Makoto Shinkai, especially his blockbuster hit anime Your Name , the film dissects the minutiae of shared memories in heartbreaking fashion. Each new experience we see between the couple is actually Emi’s last, as she drifts away from the man she loves just as he is falling for her.

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Tomoko Yoshida’s expertly crafted screenplay eschews sci-fi logic or needless explanation, focusing instead on the intensity of the relationship and the tragedy that looms ever closer with each passing moment. Fukushi and Komatsu are perfect as the helpless protagonists, embarking cautiously on a new-found romance, knowing that their time together is fleeting.

As in Shinkai’s worlds, My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday alludes to much larger themes of time, memory, love and loss, as well as the impermanence of existence and interactions with the world around us and its inhabitants. At its heart, the film also mourns our loss of innocence and the inexplicable heartbreaks that have scarred most people.

My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday opens on December 14

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