Posted in Fantasia 2016, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

A Bride for Rip Van Winkle – review @ Fantasia 2016

bride-rip-van-winkleA Bride for Rip Van Winkle / リップヴァンウィンクルの花嫁 / Rip Van Winkle no Hanayome (2016)
Director: Shunji Iwai
Screenplay: Shunji Iwai
Cast: Haru Kuroki, Gou Ayano, Cocco, Hideko Hara, Go Jibiki

This film will screen on August 1.

At three hours long, you may wonder whether a seemingly mundane drama like this one merits the running time. It focuses on a shy, soft-spoken, part-time teacher, Nanami (Haru Kuroki), who marries a man that she met over the internet. But when he questions why she can only think of two people besides her parents to attend the wedding, he becomes concerned. Nanami seeks help from some online friends and is referred to Amuro (Gou Ayano) who helps hire fake friends and relatives to attend her wedding. But the deception can only be hidden for so long.

This is one of those movies that sounds totally boring on paper but on film, it is strangely compelling. I think that is largely due to the acting. Nanami as a character may bother some viewers since she seems unusually shy or naive, which causes her to make questionable choices. However, her isolation and loneliness make her sympathetic. The other two main characters, Amuro and a new friend, Mashiro (Cocco), make the movie more interesting. Mashiro actually comes into the story at a fairly late point and figures more prominently in the last half or third of the movie. The growing friendship between Nanami and Mashiro becomes the heart of the movie and seeing that develop was the most heartwarming. Cocco gives a great performance here. Amuro is a bit mysterious, he seems both good and bad at times and while his character says some interesting things, he seems to serve more as a plot device than a real character. To say more would be spoiling a lot of the film.

The cinematography is very nice. I liked the piano theme during the credits which I sat through entirely to listen to it. I think the premise by itself should give you a good idea of whether you’ll enjoy this film. I can’t say I fully understood the film but I want to see it again to try and catch whatever details I missed the first time.

Watched on a screener at the Fantasia Film Festival.

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Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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