Kobe, Japan. Jun, Akari, Sakurako and Fumi truly believe that they can confide in each other. But one day, at a party, Jun confesses that she is seeking a divorce from her husband and this information seems to upset the other three.
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While most festivals and so-called cinephiles are stubbornly focusing their attention on the works of out-of-date directors like Kore-eda, Iwai, and Kurosawa, a new wave of filmmakers embarked on a mission to rewrite J-Cinema after a run-of-the-mill last decade, by re-invoking the sweet sensitiveness of the 90s. Petal Dance, 0.5 mm, The Tale of Iya, and Hamaguchi’s debut – Happy Hour – are all powerful works of art.
Powerful story of the lies we all tell ourselves until some certain event pushes us towards reexamination and reflection. The amateur acting only lends credibility to the realness of friendship, ennui, and midlife crisis. Not for the impatient or easily bored.
I thought this movie was incredible. Like Kore-eda meets Rohmer, with a tinge of Assayas. It's more than the sum of those parts, though. I think it's better to go in without knowing much more than it being the story of four Japanese women in their late 30's, because your viewing will benefit from the surprises therein. Much like in life, time flies by while you're watching this movie.
A film that dares to ask a question as big as "what does art give us?" and delivers a response as encompassing and intimate as we could hope. Orbiting around central themes of touch, balance, giving life and what we live for, this is magical and beautiful cinema, so close to the inner experience of reality that makes questions of verisimilitude seem immature. If art is humanism this is a towering achievement.
I was all set for a huge grumble about the running time. I wanted to suggest that a decent director could tell this same story in two hours and that Hamaguchi was ill-disciplined and shouldn't take his audience for granted. You want my precious time and attention for how long?! But then I saw his movie. I understood. I can't think of one scene I would remove or trim ...Well, maybe that book reading scene.
The book reading is one of the most accurate things I’ve ever seen in a movie, and that hurts. I hate readings! These four women are such finds. I want to see them in everything. Also, demand more from your men, folks!!