Color Me True film review: Japanese romantic comedy doubles as a homage to classic cinema

Director Hideki Takeuchi takes a closer look at the strong relationship between a film and its audience in this feature that celebrates classical cinema, while warning it may soon become a thing of the past

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2018, 2:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2018, 2:00pm

3/5 stars

The audience’s relationship with the movies has been celebrated repeatedly in cinema, but is rarely examined from the perspective of the films themselves. Color Me True (also titled Tonight, at the Movies) doesn’t only unfold as a heartfelt thank you from classical cinema to its dedicated fans, but also gives voice to the fear that the theatrical experience may soon become a thing of the past.

It’s the studio heyday of 1960, and young screenwriter Kenji (Kentaro Sakaguchi, Narratage ) is infatuated with Princess Miyuki (Haruka Ayase), the heroine of an old silent adventure film. One night, during a thunderstorm, Miyuki magically steps off the screen and into Kenji’s life – after she has grown frustrated by her repetitive existence and dwindling audience. While the princess is eager to explore her colourful new surroundings, and Kenji finds his inspiration in this burgeoning romance, complications await.

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Under the guise of this Purple Rose of Cairo-esque romantic comedy, director Hideki Takeuchi ( Thermae Romae ) and writer Keisuke Uyama are eager to explore the different facets of the movie-audience relationship. While they touch and influence viewers in different ways, the films stay the same. Similarly, while movies can teach us about real life, it can be problematic to confuse them with reality.

Color Me True puts a refreshing spin on the ubiquitous Japanese theme of remembering one’s roots and respecting tradition. Miyuki’s own film, the antiquated fantasy The Tomboy Princess and the Jolly Beasts, is in legitimate danger of being dismissed by modern moviegoing tastes. Through the monochrome Miyuki, Color Me True gives cinema a voice, to express these anxieties and fears, while also expressing gratitude to those who continue to cherish the classics.

Color Me True opens on April 19

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