Title: Honey and Clover
Starring: Sho Sakurai, Yu Aoi, Yusuke Iseya, Ryo Kase, Megumi Seki
Directed by: Masahiro Takata
May Contain Spoilers
After a trying day of appliance shopping and the goat rodeo that is Lowe’s idea of price adjustments, I was ready for a relaxing evening at home. Popping Honey and Clover into the DVD player, I settled down for what I hoped would be a diversion from gas installation kits and not so free delivery promotions. I’m sad to say that the movie didn’t live up to my expectations, and left me disappointed.
Having only read the first volume of the manga so far, I was hoping that the quirky humor from that would be translated to film. It wasn’t. One of the aspects of watching a manga based movies that I enjoy the most is seeing favorite scenes acted out on screen. I didn’t recognize anything here, and it left me very detached from the movie. Morita didn’t show up after weeks of mysterious absences with a pocketful of money and heaps of discounted food, and comradery between the apartment tenants wasn’t there. The friendships between the main characters also seemed distant, and at times it seemed that these guys hardly knew each other. Not to mention that Morita’s frantic race to attend that required lecture, his reason for not graduating for so many years, wasn’t included. Boo hoo.
Instead, Honey and Clover was a fairly benign movie about a group of art students who bob along like corks in a pond. They didn’t interact in a convincing way, and they remained removed from each other and their own feelings. Mayama was creepy with his Wall-O-Rika, Hagu was cute but had the emotional depth of a paint brush, and Morita didn’t seem to do much other than brush his bangs out of his eyes. Sigh.
Sho Sakurai made a good Takemoto, and was my favorite character. Yu Aoi’s smile could brighten a cave, but her Hagu didn’t win me over. But I didn’t really dislike any of the casting; instead, I thought the screenplay was flat and not very interesting. Halfway through, I started glancing at the clock, and that is never a good sign. The movie dragged on as love was spurned or remained a closely guarded secret, as hearts were broken and friendships tested. There was a lot of emotional turmoil, but the pacing was too uneven for me to care.
Rated for NR
Review copy provided by VIZ