Akai Ito MOVIE: (Red Thread)
((summary taken from AsianMediaWiki))
Mei has been in love with Yuya all her life. They've grown up together. But when they reach their second year of middle school, Yuya suddenly professes his love for her older sister, Haruna.
Struggling to rebound from her decade-long crush, Mei finds comfort in the close camaraderie of her school friends, Taka, Mia, Yuri, Natsu, Mitsu and Sara and then meets a reticent and gentle-natured boy named Atsushi. The two begin to realize that they share many things in common that seem to transcend mere coincidence: the same birthday (February 29th, 1992) and a previous encounter when they were both 8. Feeling a bond of fate, they grow closer.
But destiny can have a dark side to it, too, and a shocking revelation from both of their pasts compels Atsushi to pull away from Mei. The devastating separation then unleashes a wave of misfortune upon Mei: the death of a loved one, drug addiction and domestic violence. As circumstances seek to take control of her life, Mei struggles to maintain her faith in the tenuous thread of destiny that will reunite her with her true love.
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Umm... first thought?
Was this based off a badly written fanfic, lol?
First of all, I have to clarify that this review is ONLY concerning the movie and not the 11-episode drama series (since I've only seen the movie).
Now then, the red-thread-of-fate idea is one of my all time favorite plot-devises (I don't think there's a more romantic or beautiful notion out there than destiny and soulmates). So, to be fair, maybe my expectations were a bit high... but either way, I didn't feel like this story or these characters delivered on what they promised.
When it came down to it, I felt like Mei and Atsushi weren't good representations of what soulmates and destiny is all about. The Korean Dramas, Delightful Girl Choon Hyung and Soulmates do a much better job of this--heck, even Sailor Moon does, lol. In fact, I could name a dozen Japanese/Korean/Chinese movies that fit this concept much better (The Chinese movie, Turn Left, Turn Right, comes to mind first). But when you make the red-thread-of-fate the entire focus of a movie/drama... you sure as heck better be able to back it up.
Here, I was never convinced. (I've seen my fair share of dramas where two people fall in love" as children and meet again as "adults"... so it takes more than that and a shared birthday to convince me it's destiny).
Honestly, I had so many problems with this movie, I don't even know where to begin. First, I realize this is basically a condensed version of the drama... but all it succeeded in doing was making me thankful I didn't waste 11 hours watching the entire series. The story was bland and slow, the characters were boring, the drama felt exaggerated and forced, and there was no chemistry between the main actors.
It was a bit like watching Paris Hilton and Carrot-top pretending to be Romeo and Juliet...
Okay, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but to put it simply, I did NOT feel anything for the "destined" couple. Both of their characters came off flat (as did their acting) and their willingness to let other people walk all over them was frustrating and tiring to watch. Plus, the reason behind their tortured "fate-is-so-cruel" separation was not grand or terrible (at all); it wasn't nearly enough to instill the kind of heartache (but-but they BELONG together! NOOOO!) their continued separation should've caused. So during that scene at the end, I felt absolutely nothing. I seriously shrugged, and thought, "oh well. They'll find someone else. And if not, who cares."
I'm sure the fact that it took place in Middle School/High School didn't help either. I mean, I realize teens in Japan have a lot of pressure, and many DO have to deal with terrible issues... but seriously, here, it was overkill. It was like the writer was determined to pile every single tragedy he/she could think of onto Mei, so that she could win the award for best "damsel-in-distress". All they needed was a rape and an abortion storyline, and they would have covered everything (oh? you mean there IS a rape-scene in the drama? Well then, that just proves my point...)
In conclusion: If you're tempted to watch the movie to avoid having to invest the time and energy into the drama, I wouldn't recommend it. The movie is just too terribly flawed on its own, and if anything, damages the drama as a result. If I hadn't watched this, I might have actually given the drama a try, and might have even enjoyed it (the story and chemistry issues may not have been a problem with the change in pacing). But now, after having watched the movie, I no longer want to.
I'm sure the only people who would enjoy this are those who are already fans of the drama, or one of the main actors. So consider yourself warned!