Hisashi and Mai are set to have their wedding ceremony in 3 months, but Mai falls ill and lapses into a coma. Hisashi does not give up on his fiance and prays for her recovery. Finally, Mai wakes up, but she doesn't have any memory of Hisashi. ~~ Based on the true story of Hisashi and Mai Nakahara. Edit Translation
Where to Watch The 8-Year Engagement
Cast & Credits
First of all, the story is obviously amazing. It is based on the true story of a couple from Okayama. While I haven't taken the time to look into their story fully on its own, there is a YouTube video showcasing something that happens in the movie - which is how the movie ended up being made in the first place. Basically, the story follows the love of Hisashi (Sato Takeru) and Mai (Tsuchiya Tao). One day, Mai collapses and slips into unconsciousness due to an extraordinarily rare disease. While doctors think that she may never wake up again, eventually she does and has to relearn how to do everything on her - from walking all the way to speaking and writing. It's impossible to go into further detail without more or less spoiling the whole movie, but basically we are shown the journey that these two people in love took together.
In terms of casting, I am biased considering how much I favour Sato Takeru as an actor. That being said, I am always a little hesitate with movies that require a showcase of extreme emotion coming out of Japan. Depending on actor, I find that they are shown as being extremely awkward and it often seems to come off as unnatural to me. Granted, given his performances in both Ruroni Kenshin and If Cats Disappeared from the World, I should not have doubted his abilities for an instant. He was awesome. On the other hand, I am less familiar with Tsuchiya Tao. She has been a rising star for the past few years and has therefore been in a wide range of films and also experimenting on variety TV. After seeing her in Orange, I wasn't that drawn to her. However, she excelled in this role. The agony that she had to showcase, as well as having to act as someone who had to go through complete rehabilitation were impressive to say the least. My mind has been blown away by the ability in which she navigated dealing with such difficult physical requirements. She also exceeded my expectations with her displays of emotion. The other main and supporting actors were all also excellent in their roles. Everything felt very smooth and natural - loved it.
Music was good - the standard for this kind of melodramatic, romantic, based on a true story kind of movie. I don't really have anything to say other that the music was always suitable for the particular moments. I do wish the music had drawn me a bit more into the story though. I found myself feeling distant at certain peak moments in the movie and the music may have been at the root of this problem.
Overall it was an excellent movie and I highly recommend it to anyone that is found of the work of Sato Takeru and Tsuchiya Tao. Anyone that likes melodramas will likely enjoy this movie but may be a bit disappointed by the distance they feel between the extremely emotional bits of the film.
In addition to the story and the well execution of it, the performances were really good. Especially from the girl, who was amazing. She played the coma state perfectly without overdoing it and she also potrayed her rehabilitation process really well.