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Original Title:
Tenshi no koi

Japan 2009

Romance, Drama

Yuri Kanchiku

Nozomi Sasaki
Shosuke Tanihara
Araki Nanaki
Mitsuki Oishi
Hikaru Yamamoto
Saki Kagami
Motoki Fukami
Mitsuru Fukikoshi
Tsuruko Shofukutei
Wakana Sakai
Kanji Tsuda
Yudai Tsuruta
Mayumi Wakamura

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My Rainy Days

Story: Rio Ozawa (Nozomi Sasaki) is rich and popular at school. Along with her friends Miho (Araki Nanaki) and Maki (Mitsuki Oishi) she is earning money by dating rich men and sometimes even spends the night with them. That does pay off, especially since every now and then she can also blackmail her customers. After all they are going out with minors. Rio is so manipulative that she even lets someone bully the girl Tomoko (Hikaru Yamamoto) just to appear as the savior and make the girl become part of her clique. But one day something happens to 17-year old Rio she never could have expected. She falls in love with the 35-year old professor Kouki (Shosuke Tanihara). Despite her very direct approach Kouki remains reserved towards the girl. The professor has gotten rid of any emotional ballast anyway since he has been diagnosed with a brain tumor three years ago. He has only a few weeks left to live, but Rio is forcing herself into his life more and more with each day until she is getting tutored in history by him while also making a deal with him that should she get full marks for her next test he must go on a date with her. However, Rio doesn't know of Kouki's fatal illness and the professor persistently blocks any approach of the girl.

Review: "My Rainy Days" is a romantic drama composed of polished, almost noble looking pictures and is based on a cell phone novel by the writer "sin". Being a qualitatively mixed bag concerning the ideas brought into the movie the film itself cannot be called genuine or impressive, but it is entertaining at all times and can make good use of the female main character's charm. It also has to be pointed out that she is drawn a lot more three-dimensional than it may be the case with the main leads in other romantic movies. However, she is also undergoing a change that is captured in a rather haphazard manner and which all in all also makes the movie seem split in half. Moreover, it remains questionable why professor Kouki is taking a backseat in the movie most of the time. That is also harmful to the chemistry between the two lovers. Besides those flaws "My Rainy Days" is still a well-done romantic drama, though.

The picture we get of Rio at the beginning isn't really a positive one. She is manipulative, a true material girl and we even have to ask outselves if just one of her "friends" is a real friend to her. She is shallow and everything but a good person which becomes the most apparent by the way she manages to win over the girl Tomoko for her profession. The small glimpse at the job of an escort lady is pretty interesting although it would be more fitting not to call them escort ladies but girls who have sugar daddies who foot all their bills. Consequently, the first half of the movie is full of gloss and glamor. We get to see the model Nozomi Sasaki on her shopping tours and in different dresses whereas the camera is always very fond of Nozomi and captures her from the best angle possible. The rather disputable friendship of the girls is getting more developed and despite their profession the world the girls live in seems to be an idyllic one in which, with a little bit of effort, the bad may only be sensed behind the facade.

Then there is a sudden breach in the film. Rio gets to know the professor and head over heels falls in love with him. The problem that arises here is that we can't really make out why she falls in love with him. This happens all too sudden and the relationship also doesn't really evolve. Kouki is a very reserved individual who says of himself that he doesn't get along with others very well. His isolation is naturally only strengthened by the fact that he is soon about to die and therefore doesn't want to emotionally bond with anyone, not in order to protect himself but to avoid making the others' upcoming feeling of mourning even worse. The professor even takes care of making his own funeral picture which is actually just how the schoolgirl meets him. Naturally, this is a clear parallelism to the Korean drama "Christmas in August", but "My Rainy Days" isn't as subtle when it comes to emotions and also gets tangled up in some clichés.

The chemistry between Rio and Kouki sadly isn't optimal and so the movie seems to be wasting some of its potential right there. The professor also remains appallingly two-dimensional while Rio is undergoing a change that might be a bit too radical. She starts to treat her shallow friends as if they were real friends and she gets a guilty conscience that she has actually only exploited the girls. Her friends on the other hand have complete sympathy with Rio having fallen in love and support her whenever they can. We also get to know what trauma has hurt her so bad in the past that made her the manipulative individual she was until love healed her from it. An ideal world in which everything takes a turn for the better, eventually. If it weren't for a very interesting sideplot revolving around the girl Naoko which brings some more depth as well as drama into the movie and breaks through the perfect atmosphere. Naturally, Koukis death approaching later on is also adding some drama, but the sidestory around Naoko is more refreshing, yet it is sadly resolved too soon.

Towards the end everything becomes a little bit too predictable, but the movie manages to take the innocent and pure love of a (minor) schoolgirl and use this as a cure for the girl herself as well as for the mysery of the professor who has actually been thinking of himself as a walking corpse for years already and now starts to have fun in life again. Of course, drama comes into play at this point as he has no time left to really enjoy this newfound lust for life. Fortunately, "My Rainy Days" refrains from holding on to Kouki's impending death and wrench litres of tears from us like so many Korean dramas do, but instead it even walks a pretty pleasingly warm and romantic road that spares us the worst part of the story and shifts love more to the foreground.
"My Rainy Days" had the potential to be more than it is, as it remains simply too shallow at some points. Nonetheless, the romantic drama works in those areas where it should. And to be honest, you don't really need more than that for a recommendation.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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