This movie is extremely similar to “Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu” (Be With You) and “Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru” (Heavenly Forest), based on a novel by the same author, Ichikawa Takuji. In fact, the stories are so similar that it’s almost self-plagiarism of past two movies, developing the story through rare and possibly imaginary illnesses. Unlike the other two movies, I felt some scenes in this film were cheesy. Why then, did I rate it 10/10? Because it follows the proved formula for a Junai (pure love) genre movie, while adding refreshing twists.
The first film of TBS Junai Trilogy: “Sekai no Chuushin…” (Crying Out Love…) started the Japanese Junai film craze in 2004, but it was the second of the trilogy: “Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu” (ImaAi) that perfected the ultimate Junai formula of an unknown girl appears before a guy, reveals a fatal illness, and most importantly: climax with a epiphany/flashback/narration sequence by the tragic heroine, and ends with a feel-good/inspirational afterthought for the dead. This formula has since been implemented in “1L no Namida” and major 2006 Junai films such as the last of the TBS Trilogy: “Taiyou no Uta”, “Nada Sou Sou”, and “Tada, Kimi wo Aishiteru” (TadaAi). What astonishes me, is how this film managed to gather a main cast made up entirely of actors who previously starred in these notable Junai films. Yamada Takayuki was in “Sekai no Chuushin” TV drama series, Nagasawa Masami of “Sekai no Chuushin” movie and “Nada Sou Sou”, Tsukamoto Takashi of “Taiyou no Uta”. Even Kohinata Fumiyo, who played a doctor in “Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu” appears as the protagonist’s father as a doctor again.
It’s impossible to watch this movie without being reminded of previous “pure love” movies. What really separates this movie from the rest though, is that a traditional Hollywood happy ending is used for the very first time. For 3 times after the 75th minute, I thought this movie would end. Each time, it would’ve ended in a tragedy, but in the very end, the two main characters got together, and damn, it works! The last 20 minutes of this movie was designed and executed exceptionally well through twists, which turned out to be practically abuse of the fact that most Japanese love stories of this kind end in tragedy. Some lines and scenes from earlier part of the movie (including the title, “When the Time Comes, Say Hello for Me”), was reused in a very refreshing manner.
Despite its shortcomings such as repetitive theme and cheesiness, which possibly resulted from limitations in acting or directing, I consider this movie to be in the same league as “ImaAi” and “TadaAi”, as it touched me the same way, and had equally impactful if not more powerful story, cinematography, and music/theme song.
Excerpted from: IMDB
Words from me:
This movie is way far from Tada Kimi wo Aishiteru’s beautiful cinematography or a Taiyou no Uta’s great sound track but it has its own unique storyline to tell.
For a non-Masami fan like me, this movie changed my whole opinion of her. I’m still not a fan, but I loved the way she acted as Suzune/Karin in here. It was a very heartfelt one and moved me to tears. Takayuki Yamada who was her co-star was a very effective character as Satoshi Toyoma, although he’s not in the top ranking good-looking-hot-Japanese-actor in the industry, he was able to compensate his looks with charisma and great acting skills, in other words you never get bored while watching him onscreen. Then there’s another actor, Takashi Tsukamoto who also showed up in this film. I was racking my brains in what movie I’ve seen him before, then it dawned on to me that it was Taiyou no Uta, a film I have yet to make a review about. His character there was a high school kid and they made him look so young, while in this movie he was so mature looking and was too different in character.
Well back to the movie, the plot line was very interesting and surprising. Even with its little flash backs which was quite necessary, it didn’t sway much from the main theme.
One glitch here was the disease that the main female protagonist had, it was all made up and didn’t really make much sense. They didn’t even name it, so it seemed so unrealistic. This didn’t make me dislike the whole movie though, it was still the writer’s creative thinking in a way. That’s why I wouldn’t take that simple observation as a count out of the rating I made. I’m giving it 9/10 for how it made me cry the whole time and how my heart felt after finishing the movie. My tears was all worth it because the ending was much to my likeness.