Hyakuman-en to nigamushi onna (One Million Yen Girl) Reviews
The ending, while depressing, was also very realistic (which I applaud it for; it's not many a romance-movie that is willing to admit how first loves most end). The meat of the movie is very feel-good, which was also a nice change of pace from what I typically watch. There's also a nice bit of character development towards the very end--both the protagonist and her brother develop an understanding of how to better fend for themselves.
Overall, it was well worth the long run time. The only qualm I really have is with the long shots of characters just staring at each other. Or the wall. DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. A few of them are fine (and can actually be quite nice when used properly), but too many of them makes for an awkward ride.
Barring that, I can't recommend this movie enough. Just... prepare for the feels. ^^'
I've only seen decent reviews of this film, but I can't say I was thrilled by it, although admittedly it evens out and improves later on.
Usually when I rent a DVD, I watch it twice before solidifying any opinion, but I put this one on for a second viewing and I just couldn't get through the early parts of the film.
First of all, it was very clumsy how the opening scenes are out of sequence with their place in the rest of the film, and I feel I'm doing a favor by pointing it out. Maybe the director was trying to make a dramatic first impression, but then there should have been a title card afterwards indicating a jump back in time.
The first indication I got that I wasn't going to like this film was within the first 15 minutes I thought what hideous dialogue it was.
But the killer for me is how unpleasant and mean-spirited everyone is. The petty, unfair victimization the protagonist endures is unrelentless, unsubtle and unrealistic. I just hated the vast majority of the characters, and maybe that's what the director wanted, but it's so one-dimensional, and I don't like seeing people that way. It's boring and negative.
The general concept of the movie is good and appealing. After those early setbacks, the protagonist leaves her home in Tokyo on an indefinite journey to find part-time jobs wherever she ends up, and once she earns 1 million yen at any given place (after travel expenses and start-up money for a place to stay, supposedly), she leaves and moves on to her next destination.
The problem I had with the film was it's a journey film, but there's no catharsis, no revelation. There's no end-point, and there's no point in the end. What did she learn? Or is she just a cynical bitter woman as a result of her experiences?
Even the gimmick in the last place depicted offers the possibility of some closure, but it is botched in execution - on one hand it's kind of obvious, and the other hand you go along with what it looks like and think poorly of the characters.
Yu Aoi is excellent in the lead role and is very appealing, but I would also mark that as a problem (and perhaps a reason for all the decent reviews). She's pretty, sensitive and young and right there has many advantages in society. We're given absolutely no reason why she should be treated so callously. I wonder how different the film would be if the main character was fat and ugly and not so sympathetic by virtue of her appearance.
Rotten 4 out of 10 tomatoes.
I'm a huge fan of Aoi Yuu and here she shows why she is such a talented actress, great expressions and emotions. The overall cast were just as good.
It's a film with meaning, beautiful aesthetics and good music.