Length: 124 minutes
Director: Nobuhiro Doi
Cast: Masaki Suda, Kasumi Arimura
Language: Japanese with English and Chinese subtitles
Release details: In theatres 17 June (Singapore)
3.5 out of 5 stars
Starring Masaki Suda as Mugi and Kasumi Arimura as Kinu, We Made A Beautiful Bouquet is a bittersweet love story between the two. As if by destiny, a chance encounter leads to the discovery that they both share a lot in common, be it music, movies or books. But as they progress through different stages of life, their four-year relationship meets many challenges and eventually turns sour.
We Made A Beautiful Bouquet was directed by Nobuhiro Doi and written by Yuji Sakamoto, a screenwriter known for his cracking dialogue and complex characters. Both previously worked together on Japanese TV series Quartet, which snagged a number of awards including Best Director and Best Screenwriter in Japan's Television Drama Academy Awards. We Made A Beautiful Bouquet does not pale in comparison either, for the plot is weaved with minute details that make the love story so brutally honest.
In the beginning, you can feel with the characters as they go through a period of bliss and uncertainty regarding their budding relationship. The feeling that this may be “the one” is described through the way the two characters interact and seem to click right from the start. It also helps that Suda and Arimura look compatible and not awkward.
Furthermore, it is very interesting to spot little hints in the film that indicate the status of their relationship. One particularly subtle hint is their shoes. When they first meet, apart from shared interests, their tastes are so similar that they even have the same pair of shoes. But you will soon notice the cracks in their relationship when one scene shows Kinu still has the same sneakers, but Mugi has a pair of loafers.
As their relationship comes to an inevitable end, instead of a straightforward break-up like you would expect in romance films, the realism of the end of a relationship is brought out. The couple struggles to come to terms with what is happening, and makes futile attempts to save the relationship, such as wilfully suggesting marriage will make things better. It is refreshing to see how these conflicting emotions are depicted, which adds depth not only to the characters, but also to the love story itself.
However, this is not to say that this is a sorrowful romance film. Instead, like its title suggests, it is more like a beautiful bouquet — everything looks perfect at first and the flowers will eventually wither, but what was once in their hands is still a precious memory.
In addition, as the plot spans five years from 2015 to 2020, there are a couple of Japanese pop culture references that go with the year, which people who are familiar may notice. For instance, there is a scene at the karaoke room where the song RPG (2015) by J-pop band Sekai No Owari or End Of The World is sung. Other references include Nintendo Switch and video game The Legend Of Zelda, popular Japanese mobile game Puzzle & Dragons, and the mentioning of idol group SMAP who disbanded in 2016.
The movie may seem long with a runtime of 124 minutes, but We Made A Beautiful Bouquet is not an overly artistic film that can definitely be enjoyed by many young adults. Fans of Suda can also catch snippets of the actor-singer singing!
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