[Review] Sweet, poignant, predictable

By Chris Lau
By Chris Lau |

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As well as those well-known tear-jerking dog movies, Japanese cinema generally has a good reputation for producing memorable love stories with a strong emotional core.

Girl in the Sunny Place, directed by Takahiro Miki, is the latest, and explores a romantic relationship. Like any good film about love, there's a big twist in the mix.

Kosuke Okuda (Jun Matsumoto) and Mao Watarai (Juri Ueno) were good friends in middle school - a friendship was born when Kosuke defended Mao against bullies - but lost contact after graduation. Early in the film, the two meet again as adults, quickly fall in love, and soon tie the knot. Their happy life after marriage is the envy of many.

But one day, Kosuke learns his wife is suffering from an illness. Not long after, she disappears. To find Mao, Kosuke ventures to her old home. When he gets there, he unmasks a secret that takes him by surprise.

The film boasts beautiful images of the Japanese cityscape. Everything looks natural and effortless - a strength of Japanese cinema - yet a sense of chicness radiates throughout.

The ending - and the twist that leads you there - is slightly predictable, though. But put that aside. This sweet, heart-warming love story between the two main characters makes a blast.