When Alice develops a crush on a stranger at the train station, she offers her best friend, Hana, the stranger's "half brother," Masashi. Hana declines, but after watching Masashi from a distance, she develops feelings for him. She stalks him by traveling on his regular train throughout the winter.
During the spring, Hana and Alice enroll at Masashi's high school. Hana learns that Masashi is a member of the story-telling club, which prompts her to join as a member. As she continues to track him secretly, she witnesses him crash into a garage door, which leaves him unconscious. As he awakes, he finds Hana leaning over him. She reveals that a blow to Masashi's head has given him a case of amnesia and that she is his girlfriend. Hana and Masashi soon hang out as a couple while she continues deceiving him about their relationship. Alice becomes involved with Hana's lies by pretending she is Masashi's ex-girlfriend.
Cast & Credits
Hana and Alice is a story about two best friends and their friendship. Though the whole plot while centers around both falling for the same guy, it deals with a lot of other things too. Both girls are very likable but I felt like Alice made more of an impact on me. Some of its scenes were so realistic that I felt like I was actually watching these girls in reality.
I have to commend the director because he portrayed some parts beautifully and realistically. The film has impressive cinematography and a great background score. Although it runs longer than required, its artistic shots will keep you well occupied. Also these girls played their parts so well that I can't imagine them not being best friends off screen too.
The overall mood of the film is light and dreamy. It has a poetic feel attached to it and leaves you with a feel good factor. It is relatable in a lot of ways. I am sure most of us have had some problems with our best friends once in a while. I particularly liked the ending scene because it reminds us how much of good friends Hana and Alice are.
While it does have a few boring parts, I'd suggest you skip through them. If ballet suits your taste then it is a treat for you as there is quite of some screen time devoted to it. The film also have some good humourous moments and it will leave you with a smile at the end of the film. Definitely recommended.
Watching this (as many other reviewers noted) was like reading a love letter. You see the story of two best friends, liking the same guy. That probably sounds shallow but it's something that happens in real life especially as you grow up and experience the wonders of a first love. And that's precisely why I love Hana and Alice. It's simplicity as a story calms you. It's nothing more than a simple tale that doesn't try to be too much than that it originally intended.
Iwai just delivers everything with such beauty. The colors aren't exotic nor are they bright but in a way, there's so mellow (but not in that dark way) and so refreshing to the eyes that you also fall in love with what you see on screen. These colors makes you feel closer to the characters and their story. Each scene, each setting is filled with visual beauty, I cannot praise it enough. Add some amazing soundtrack, the feels are everywhere. Especially for me, who has just entered her twenties.
The balance between Hana and Alice's life is also a nice touch, the other doesn't outshine the other. After all, this is about them. The similarities (absence of a male figure in their life, ballet) but also the contrast (Alice's house is filled with messy things while Hana's house is filled with flowers) shows the attention to details, the delicate choice that Iwai made. Also, Anne Suzuki and Yu Aoi just have such amazing chemistry together.
Yu Aoi's ballet dance sequence is so mesmerizing, I can watch her all day long. Anne Suzuki's heartbreaking confession is so pure, so heartfelt so evident of growing up, it brings back loads of memories.
Shinji Iwai is a great director that really does deserve more praise. He cares about setting as much as he cares about story as much as he cares about character. There's a fine balance of that here. (Always love his works with Yu Aoi too!)