In Love and Deep Water Review – A disappointing and incoherent romantic mystery

By Lori Meek
Published: November 16, 2023
In Love and Deep Water Review
In Love and Deep Water | Image via Netflix


A lackluster romance film with an incoherent plot and a frustrating ending.

In Love and Deep Water is a Japanese romantic mystery film written by Yûji Sakamoto and directed by Yûsuke Taki, streaming on Netflix. Set on a luxurious cruise liner, the movie stars an array of well-known Japanese performers, including Aoi Miyazaki, Yoh Yoshida, and Ryo Yoshizawa.

The lighthearted movie follows an unlikely duo as they try to get to the bottom of what happened to a murdered passenger while falling for each other in the first. While not without charm, the film has enough plot holes to sink the cruise liner its passengers casually live and work on. 

In Love and Deep Water review and plot summary

Suguru Ubukata is a butler working on a luxury cruise liner MSC Bellissima, heading for the Aegean Sea. The incredibly vain captain refers to him as her “lightning rod” for his uncanny ability to appease even the most entitled passengers. 

When Chizuru boards the ship, she has some terrible news for Ubukata; his beloved girlfriend is cheating on him with her boyfriend while the two injured parties are stuck on the boat for the next few weeks. 

And then a murder happens. The only problem is that the two other couples and the young boy who witnessed the crime have decided to deny seeing anything. While everyone has their reasons for staying quiet, Ubukata can’t just let the matter slide.  

So it’s up to our two leads to convince the witnesses to come forward with what they saw before the murderer gets away scot-free. 

In Love and Deep Water isn’t the most coherent of movies. Plot points are introduced and dropped quicker than Edward the magician can stack up a deck of cards. This is the type of feature where its story is sacrificed in favor of the filmmaker getting his opinions monologued on screen.

When one character is confronted about having an affair, she goes on a rant about why the rich are better than the poor, followed by another person giving a heartfelt speech contradicting that stance. None of it has anything to do with the plot. 

The dialogue doesn’t feel natural, and we rarely see who these characters are as people. Instead, the actors are there to debate different philosophies and opinions on screen, with the love story and the murder mystery in the backdrop. 

While the cast members do as much of a good job as they can, In Love and Deep Water doesn’t seem to know what genre it wants to be in. It’s not a great murder mystery because for the most part, the killer’s identity is no secret, and the reveal at the end makes little to no sense. The romantic comedy aspects are surface-level cute, and the stakes are almost nonexistent. 

Is In Love and Deep Water worth streaming on Netflix?

Considering how Monster, a feature also written by Yûji Sakamoto, made such an impression at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, my expectations for this movie were high. Instead, In Love and Deep Water is a less-than-coherent flick with a confusing plot and poorly fleshed-out characters. 

While the premise of a murder mystery on sea combined with a love story looks good on paper, the actual movie is disappointing. It’s hard to recommend streaming this one unless you’re a fan of Sakamoto’s work. 

What did you think of Netflix’s In Love and Deep Water? Comment below.

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