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Despite the fact the movie has its fair share of high-concept drama Love Life excels in subtle emotions, beautifully observed characters and deeply humanist themes that resonate throughout the film.

Love Life's opening scene contains a game of Othello between a mother and her son, whereby the stones on the board flip from white to black and back again at a quick pace. It serves as an ideal metaphor for the film itself, which is a rollercoaster of often subdued but always touching emotions.

The biggest skip of your heart will probably occur on the 20-minute mark, when a shocking (and shockingly unanticipated) event changes the course of the central family's life. What follows is the well-constructed and regurlarly surprising fall-out of this event, which makes the main characters question their life choices.

In tone and style Love Life is reminiscent of Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter and the deeply humanist works of Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda, but Koji Fukado also brings a wry humour to the tale that adds to the on-screen drama and makes Love Life stand out amid the crowd.

He is aided by excellent performances from the entire cast. Kento Nagayama is a particular stand-out, especially in a memorable scene that sees him venting frustration to the biological father of his son. Furter enhancing the deliberately paced but always engaging picture are the crisp cinematography and purposeful editing.

While on the page parts of Japanese movie Love Life most have sounded cheesy, contrived and even a bit soapy, in the hands of director Koji Fukada the picture becomes a touching, universal ode to people's flaws and strenghts.

release: 2022

director: Koji Fukada

starring: Fumino Kimura, Kento Nagayama, Atom Sunada, Tetta Shimada


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