A photographer and hairdresser fall in love, and that’s put to the test when one becomes dreadfully ill.
This review of Love Like the Falling Petals is spoiler-free.
Love Like the Falling Petals is the latest Japanese romance-drama film and has a running time of two hours and 8 minutes. Its literal title is “My Dearest, like a Cherry Blossom” which I think is far more attractive and romantic. It’s based on the 2017 novel by Keisuke Uyama.
Starring Kento Nakajima and Honoka Matsumoto, this story surrounds the tragic love story between a photographer and his hairdresser. As the two very young-looking lovebirds struggle to date, they “fall in love” and their love story is brought to a halt when Misaki (Matsumoto) discovers she has a rare disease that causes her to age rapidly before their eyes.
The love story begins with how the two met, how she almost chops his ear off when she hears he is a photographer and the two have a few dates. These dates feel hard and almost unwanted. Yet they randomly proclaim they “want to fall in love” with one another whilst one is being dragged away on the train. The story isn’t coherent, and the love story becomes lost as they try to find a cure for her illness, which is suggestive of the pursuit of happiness rather than a romantic drama.
The story then turns, and from here, the narrative shifts to exploring how Misaki’s older brother (Kento Nagayama) and his now fiancée (Yuki Sakurai) struggle as they bear the financial brunt of her plight. The financial, emotional, and physical burden older people bring on their loved ones is highlighted and really didn’t give me much hope for becoming older. This might be a social issue in Japan that they’re trying to raise and make people aware of, but it really brought me down. I didn’t feel inspired or hopeful, but rather bored and alone. This film doesn’t celebrate love and life but really pushes against it.
The cinematography is nice, and the acting is to a good standard. I watched with both voice-over and subtitles, which didn’t match, so that was rather annoying. Towards the end when Misaki is sick, there are camera shots as if we are seeing through her eyes, mixed with her heavy breathing and height. It reminded me of E.T when he is running through the forests at the beginning, and I couldn’t help but laugh and couldn’t take it seriously. We never really see her face, just her body, which is hard to identify and make a connection with.
Overall this film is okay, but unlike other films concerning age like Jack and Benjamin Button, this story doesn’t grasp the value and meaning of life, and it failed to pull at my heartstrings.