Time-travelling that kills time

Gareth Pang
Gareth Pang |

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What could possibly link ancient Rome to modern Japan? Thermae Romae offers an unlikely answer: the bathhouse.

Set in 128 A.D. and based on Mari Yamazaki's popular manga, the film follows the story of a humble thermae architect, Lucius Modestus (Hiroshi Abe), who struggles to come up with the next stunning bathhouse to impress emperor Hadrianus (Masachika Ichimura).

One day he discovers an aqua vortex in one of the baths and is propelled to present-day Japan. The conservative architect is mesmerised by the innovative jacuzzis, showers, saunas and hot springs. He takes his observations and develops them into a new line of public and private baths, winning him fame and fortune.

The film was well received in Japan, grossing over US$75 million for its local release.

Thermae Romae offers a few hilarious moments at the beginning. But the jokes lose their steam quickly, and the film soon becomes a predictable time-hopping melodrama. Based on a simple yet creative idea, it's a good choice if you're looking for a lighthearted weekend time-killer.

YP Rating: 3/5

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