Kono Mune Ippai no Ai wo (A Heartful of Love, 2005)
Ito Hideaki, Mimura, Katsuji Ryo
Dir. Shiota Akihiko
A time travel picture that in the end, for me, wasn’t really about being out of time as much as about second chances. In this latest “time slip” chapter, Ito Hideaki takes a business trip back to his hometown in Kita-Kyushu, a place full of haunted memories. Upon closer inspection he discovers that he has taken a ride 20 years in the past, evidenced by calendars, newspapers . . . and seeing his 10-year-old self stumbling out of his old home.
I was all set for the 80s revival and a chunk of Kyon-kyon tunes but I was spared, perhaps mercifully. He glides almost too easily into his old home and reacquaints himself with an old mentor, played by Mimura, who is his shogi partner, violin teacher and first love. Of course there are reasons why time and space bend backwards for un/lucky movie characters and soon he is confronted with his destiny.
I suppose this movie could fall into the pure junai lub story that seems to be a the anchor of every other Japanese movie I come across these days. Some are easier to take and accept, others try my patience. The way in which Ito becomes buddy-buddy with his 5th-grade self is almost too easy for me to accept (am I the only one who would be tempted to find some way to influence a kiddie version of me in a more corrupting fashion?).
Mimura plays a passable old crush (I like how the young kid ogles her at first cause that’s what young boys do), although I wonder if her hair would have been more poofy in the mid-80s. This story has some reasonable twists and doesn’t stray too far beyond the delicate fantasy construct (this isn’t “Back to the Future,” after all). I thought some of the supporting cast was given the shaft in terms of character development and their stories concluded a bit too swiftly to move the plot along. Of course these days it would take a TV drama of 10 episodes or so to draw all that out in a fair way and I’m not sure I would have wanted to extend my stay in 1986 THAT long.
*** (out of ****)