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by displacedmoon on February 14, 2014
2.7K 23

Displaced Moon’s Movie Picks

I’m a sucker for the fantasy genre.  Throw in some romance, one or two of my favorite actors, and I’m sold.  That’s why it was a no-brainer to watch the movies in this review.  The bonus, which I became aware of after watching the films, is that each has a lesson that make the movies all the more worthwhile. As the plots unfold, you’ll need to pay close attention, otherwise you’ll find yourself scratching your head at the end wondering what the heck just happened.
Country: Korea     Year: 2008     Genres: Romance, Supernatural

This 2008 Korean supernatural romance revolves around the relationship between Joon Seo (Lee Chun Hee) and Mi Yeon (Han Ji Hye).  Joon Seo is tired of their relationship, so he volunteers to do research work in Antarctica.  Before he is to leave, Mi Yeon suffers an accident and falls into a coma. The day following her hospitalization, Mi Yeon visits him as if nothing happened.  Trying to rationalize her inexplicable appearance, Joon Seo retraces her steps.  Recollecting how their romance began, Joon Seo realizes how much he still loves Mi Yeon.

If you dislike sad movies, I recommend skipping this one. However, if you enjoy melodramatic tearjerkers that may (or may not - depending on your mood) compel a few tears, this one’s for you.  I came along Humming during one of my drama slumps. And thank God for that, because it placed Lee Chun Hee on my radar.  Joon Seo is far from likeable in the beginning. Someone who tries to ditch his girlfriend by taking a job in the South Pole, doesn’t gain any cool points in my book. But as the movie progresses, you begin to root along with him for a happy ending.  The film highlights a few notions: love changes with time; what it means to love someone more than that person loves you; and the final take-away—treasure the relationships you have, as they may not be there tomorrow.

Country: Japan     Year: 2013     Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance

Locarno, Busan, and Toronto’s film festivals featured this Japanese sci-fi romance in 2013.  It’s an adaptation of Rokuro Inui’s novel, “A Perfect Day for a Plesiosaur” and also goes by the title, Riaru: Kanzen Naru Kubinagaryuu No Hi. Atsumi (Haruka Ayase) is a popular manga artist for “Roomi,” a thriller depicting a murderous psychopath.  Insecurities caused by deadlines and writer’s block cause her to attempt suicide, leaving her in a coma. Atsumi’s boyfriend, Koichi (Takeru Sato), takes part in a medical procedure where he tries to awaken her by entering her subconscious mind. As the experiment progresses, they confront their shared childhood trauma.

It was a bonus to watch a movie with Haruka and Takeru, two of my favorite j-actors. That said, this movie is somewhat of a mind trip.  You’ll either love it or hate it, and the ending may leave you asking, “What was that!?” Real leans towards the artistic and surreal—so a viewer looking to wrap their brain around a psychological movie, will enjoy it. I liked how some of the visuals are downright creepy. I also appreciated the moments in the film when the waking and subconscious worlds intermingle. The importance your subconscious plays in how we respond to life is one of the central messages. In the case of this movie, it specifically addresses resolving your guilt and fear from past events—otherwise they can manifest in unpleasant ways.
Country: Japan     Year: 2008     Genres: Romance, Fantasy

This Japanese fantasy romance is about Miho (Kaho), a modern high school student contemplating being a science fiction writer and Tokijiro (Sano Kazuma), an aspiring writer from the Meiji era. Miho accidentally drops her cell phone into a wormhole caused by an earthquake. Tokijiro finds the phone and the two are able to communicate whenever it is activated by the moon. Romance blooms as they get to know each other.

The movie’s theme has been done before—think Il Mare, Only You Can Hear Me and Ditto. So while not original, it’s still a good watch.  The highlight of Tokyo Girl is when the leads go on a date, each in their own time, visiting local spots in downtown Tokyo. The Erizen shop scene with the mirror and old lady is especially moving. I appreciated how as a consequence of interacting with each other, Miho and Tokijiro grow as individuals.  Miho transforms from a petulant teenager who disapproves of her mother’s choices, to one that is more understanding of her mother’s needs. Tokijiro morphs from an uninspired writer lacking depth, to an emotive author capable of innovative work. The story is full of your typical messages – don’t give up on your dream and sometimes you have to place other’s needs before your own. However, it wasn’t these messages that moved my heart, but the movie’s tagline – “Even if a hundred years' time separates us, it still feels like your heart is within inches.”

Happy watching everyone!