Ai to makoto [For Love's Sake] (2012)

Monday, 3. December 2012

Ai to makoto
Director: Takashi Miike
Writer: Takayuki Takuma
Based on: Ikki Kajiwara and Takumi Nagayasu’s manga
Cast: Satoshi Tsumabuki, Emi Takei, Tsuyoshi Ihara
Part of: Viennale

When rich Ai (Emi Takei) was a little girl, her life was saved by the rough Makoto (Satoshi Tsumabuki). Years later, the two of them meet again. Makoto is still really rough and loves to spend his time in fights, while Ai is still the good and nice girl in school. But this time, Ai gets it into her head to save Makoto. So she pulls some strings to have him enroled in her school, despite Makoto’s lack of interest in getting a better life.

I thought that a musical by Takashi Miike should be a whole lot of fun, but unfortunately the movie is soooo very long. And I pretty much hated the gender dynamics in it. I just couldn’t get into it at all.

I really didn’t know who this movie wanted me to root for. Ai is an idiot and Makoto is an asshole. An asshole who repeatedly hits Ai when she tries to meddle with his life. An impulse that I can understand but that doesn’t really sell the love story. Bad boys can be attractive. Abusers never are.

And these crappy dynamics are just like a red thread through the entire film. There’s this one girl – a bad girl and bully – who immediately falls in love with Makoto after he completely humiliates her. And her story arc ends with her deciding that she wants to be a “real girl”, meaning she starts skipping instead of running, starts giggling and singing about true love and immediately loses all signs of aggressive behavior. Bleargh.

The movie does have its moments. Especially the choreographies are awesome and had me laughing most of the time. They were just that perfectly ridiculous. Also, one of the greatest moments (that I would love to have a gif of) was when Ai’s parents decide to “party like real bourgeois.”

The music was fun, too – not great, but good to listen to. It just wasn’t enough to make the movie work or to make up for the female character developments.

Summarising: more a no than a yes.

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