The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Like Someone in Love | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review - Like Someone in Love

A young Tokyo prostitute strikes up a relationship with an elderly client.


Directed by: Abbas Kiarostami
Starring: Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno, Ryo Kase

Despite her engagement to young garage owner Noriaki (Kase), Akiko (Takanashi) moonlights as a high class prostitute to fund her college studies. One evening, her plans to meet her visiting grandmother are disrupted when her pimp orders Akiko to spend the night with retired sociology professor Takashi (Okuno). When she arrives, she finds a nervous elderly man who seems more interested in being a father figure to the young woman than indulging in any sexual activity. The next morning Takashi drops Akiko off at her college and encounters her irate fiance. Pretending to be Akiko's grandfather, Takashi finds the young man pouring out his emotions to him, but quickly discovers he possesses a violent streak.
Not since the thirties, when central Europe's greatest film-makers fled fascist persecution to work in Hollywood, has cinema seen the level of cultural cross-pollination of the last few years. English actress Kristin Scott-Thomas has become French cinema's leading female star, appearing in more Gallic productions now than Anglo-Saxon ones. Earlier this year we saw the Australian director Cate Shortland working in Germany for the WWII tale 'Lore', despite not speaking a word of German. 'Like Someone in Love' is possibly the most curious example, a Japanese drama written and directed by an Iranian film-maker.
While it doesn't quite feel like a native Japanese film, (there's far too much dialogue), Kiarostami's film seems like it could be based on a short story by someone like Haruki Murakami. This is both the strength and the weakness of 'Like Someone in Love'. The three characters are all interesting but Kiarostami's exploration of them would be far better served as a piece of literature rather than a motion picture. It's an excessively talky picture, with much of the dialogue serving as thinly disguised exposition. That said, there's enough to keep you engaged, thanks mainly to the performances of Takanashi and especially Okuno, who has the most interesting and pleasant face you'll see on any elderly gent.
I'm forever arguing the case of ambiguity but even I found the ending of this film irritating. There's ambiguity and there's abruptness. Kiarostami opts for the latter in this case.
6/10