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Like Someone in Love - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Raiku Samuwan In Rabu

Japan 2012


Abbas Kiarostami

Rin Takanashi
Tadashi Okuno
Ryo Kase
Reiko Mori
Mihoko Suzuki
Kaneko Kubota
Kouichi Ohori

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Like Someone in Love

Story: Akiko (Rin Takanashi) is having an exam at high school the next day and her grandmother has come for a visit. Yet, since Hiroshi (Denden) asks her to she needs to meet with a man. Akiko is an escort. In fact, Akiko's grandmother has come to visit because she has seen her granddaughter on a flyer and is worried that this might actually be her grandchild. At the same time Akiko's boyfriend Noriaki (Ryo Kase) doesn't leave her alone, because he believes that she is cheating on him. He doesn't know of her profession. Late at night Akiko goes on a date with a man without having seen her grandmother. The man she meets, Takashi Watanabe (Tadashi Okuno), could be her grandfather and the next day he drives her to high school. There Watanabe, a former professor and writer as well as a translator, meets the jealous boyfriend of the girl, who instantly takes him for her grandfather. He talks with him about his problems with his girlfriend and tells him about the problems he has with her and that he soon wants to ask for her hand in marriage. For Noriaki things seem to be sorted out, but Akiko would like nothing more than to end the relationship. At the same time her unusal relationship with Watanabe deepens.

Review: "Like Someone in Love" has its own rhythm and through the directing presents us with pictures that depict little worlds on their own. Furthermore, the undefined, mysterious and intangible of the individuals will challange the viewer to read between the lines. A lot of things take place beneath the surface and need to be analyzed. All those elements make this drama a very fascinating film, one you won't forget so soon, but for the same reasons the movie might not be to everyone's taste either. However, it's impressive what you can achieve with a minimalistic story and a great director. "Like Someone in Love" takes you on a trip into the lives of two individuals who are unhappy in their roles, yet can't do anything against playing them.

Like Someone in Love - Film Screenshot 11

The first scene of the movie in a bar already gives you a good impression of what to expect. In a single long shot a world unfolds that is drawn with only few words and yet we can make out pretty quick and easily what Akiko's profession is. Then a new world is created as Akiko sits in a cab and listens to the messages her grandmother left her. Watching the night life on the streets has something hypnotic about it and at the same time you are overcome by a strong feeling of sadness as Akiko listens to the numerous messages. Her grandmother has come for a day just to make sure that her granddaughter is fine. But apparently Akiko doesn't know what to tell her and thus she avoids her. Although she still wants to see her from afar just once.

Like Someone in Love - Film Screenshot 12

What caused the young girl to become an escort? We don't get a straight answer, but it's a simple one after all, if not a bit trite: being alone in a big city, studies that have to be tackled and the rent has to be paid in some way, too. In many other respects the drama is also very unpretentious and particularly because of that it's honest and touching. Still, what's striking is that the two protagonists feel alien in their own roles, even though they never really show this directly. When Akiko enters the former professor's apartment she isn't surprised by his old age at all, but we aren't just staggered by this but also by the fact that such a caring and courteous man is booking such a girl. Accordingly it's our prejudices that are dismantled here.

Akiko proves to be experienced in her profession right from the get-go and begins talking about art. Her charm can be felt instantly and the way she invites Watanabe into bed is extremely seductive as well as unobtrusive. The camera remains fixed at its location and we see Akiko go into the bedroom and her clothes being thrown into the door case. A lot of stuff is left to your imagination and that's especially appealing. Rin Takanashi and Tadashi Okuno are both comparatively fresh faces and they play their parts with the necessary naturalness, but also with a certain amount of vulnerability and caution. Only Ryo Kase ("Outrage Beyond", "Gravity's Clowns") is a well known face and with his erraric character brings something dangerous into the film.

Like Someone in Love - Film Screenshot 13

The directing of Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who in his country had to gain a lot of experience with censorship and therefore has acquired a style of making movies that leaves a lot of empty space, is fascinating. And the space he leaves can easily be filled by the viewer. But sometimes there is more than just one way of interpretation. Yet, that's also composing the drama's appeal. The movie is very quiet, shows a lot of details in its long shots and therefore creates a natural flow that captivates. This is also accomplished by capturing events in real-time, although it isn't always very convincing. Accordingly, it seems rather strange that Akiko takes an exam at the time it takes Watanabe to talk with her boyfriend. Anyway, "Like Someone in Love" revolves around a simple, but nice story carried by a wonderful cinematography, which makes time fly, even though it easily could have become tedious. Still, the drama, as well as the sudden ending, has its pecularities that you need to be able to deal with.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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