Love Like the Falling Petals ending explained – is there a happy ending?

March 24, 2022
Romey Norton 1
Ending Explained, Film, Netflix, Streaming Service
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This article contains major spoilers for the Love Like the Falling Petals ending.

Love Like the Falling Petals begins with Haruto taking photos of the beautiful, picturesque cherry blossom. Showcasing spring has sprung, new life and new beginnings. Photographers preserve life in an image — the irony is there but it feels cheesy and clumsy already.

As the story continues, Misaki ages and her family tries to find a cure for her, spending a lot of their time, money, and energy on trying to “save” her. Misaki is very decrepit and old with 50 minutes left of the film, so I really wondered where the storyline was going to go from here on.

We see Misaki watching her love Haruto and crying, which causes her brother to go to Haruto confessing everything about the disease and asking him to save her. He goes to her, telling her he loves her in a sweet monologue, which should have been filmed face-on and in a better light so we could fully see and appreciate the acting. Misaki doesn’t come out to him, she stays inside.

Haruto comes to visit and talks to Misaki every day but with a wall between them. The fact Misaki wants to hide her face and her age shows her fear of rejection, whether you are young or old we all live and die with some fear, and the lesson I learned from this is to not let fear control and consume you. Their love feels wasted instead of romantic or thoughtful at this time. Is the film trying to tell us not to waste time, or to trust ourselves? I’m not sure. I feel more frustrated with what was happening more than anything else. Frustrated that Misaki wasn’t opening the door to the man she claims to love whom she only has a short space of time with, just because of the way she looks?

Haruto is having an exhibition for his work, and Misaki won’t go. Her brother tells her off, telling her not to give up on the most important thing – love. Misaki forces herself to the show, crippled over as she walks through a room of photos that show her life before she got sick. All the photos are in black and white and Misaki is in bright colours. When Misaki touches the photos, they become colorful and turn into her colorful memories and we walk through them with her. 

Realizing she loves Haruto, Misaki goes to find him. It’s snowing and she falls, this colorful creature on the snow-white ground, we’re obviously needing to look at what she is wearing. Haruto comes running from around a corner asking “are you okay?” as he doesn’t recognize her. I found this a bit cheesy and comical; I know it’s meant to be heart-breaking, but it just felt ironic. Here comes her long-haired hero, running in slow motion to her, for him to not know who she is. Misaki simply says “thank you” – I think she wanted him to remember her young and beautiful, and she simply wanders off home. 

The next shots are of the family talking about Misaki’s passing and how Haruto couldn’t be at the funeral. He asks to see her room (he’s probably going to find the pink hat) and he’s looking around teary-eyed, and he finally sees the hat. Holding it he falls to the floor crying. More hysterical, when I thought it would be tears of bittersweet happiness as he did get to see his love before she died.

Love Like the Falling Petals ending

The next sequence of shots are of someone traveling, life happening, Misaki’s place of work honoring her, and Haruto on the floor, not moving or living. Threatening to take his life with some scissors, probably hairdressing scissors. Misaki wrote him a letter after visiting his exhibition. Haruto reads this, with Misaki’s voiceover, as we go through a montage of their memories, Misaki states that the passage of time always scares her, terrified her, but some things never change and his photos capture that. Misaki was so grateful to share some of her life with him, glad that she fell in love with him. A touching monologue, telling him not to give up taking photos, which will hopefully motivate him, like it did earlier in the film where she told him to take photos.

The final shots are of Haruto in front of a camera having his photo taken. We’re back to the beginning of the film where he is taking photos of the cherry blossoms and their falling petals. The last line reads “there was my love, like the falling petals”. A sweet line to end with, I appreciate the full circle, but I think the leading up to it was unclear and not believable. The family being involved with trying to help and find cures for Misaki instead of Haruto took away from their love story so made the ending almost absurd. He wasn’t involved in her aging, her death, in that struggle and plight, so why does he care so much when she is dead? Are we really just mourning the death and loss of youth, of young love, or carelessness, or maybe he’s mourning the loss of his creative muse and she was the one who keeps him into photography?

The love monologue is lovely, but it is something that should have happened with both of them together, to feel and see that love, not hear it. We are, after all, watching a film for the visuals. 

Not actually seeing Misaki’s passing is a letdown. I would have liked to have seen her and her final moments and how she eventually came to accept her illness and her death. The whole story was really about her and this illness and I felt as if there was no closure. Therefore the ending was too quick and clumsy and predictable from the start.

You can stream Love Like the Falling Petals exclusively on Netflix. Do you have any thoughts on the ending of Love Like the Falling Petals? Let us know in the comments.