There are moments of blissful comedy, moments of utter relaxation and moments of simple wonder.
The good stuff
It's a truly pleasant experience from start to finish, but the lack of dramatic events is sure to leave some scratching their heads.
And while all of that might sound pretty serious and even heavy-handed, it's amazing how light and flirtatious Ogigami manages to keep her debut film.
Ogigami's English-language debut takes a while to get going, but around the halfway point it finally picks up steam. The actors aren't all that, luckily Masako Motai is still around to pull everyone together. Not as good as Ogigami's other work, but still worth checking out.
I wouldn't be surprised if every traditional Japanese after school club got its own movie during the 00s. It became a pretty popular genre, driven by a rigid narrative structure that didn't seem to leave the directors much freedom to add something of their own. Ogigami struggles too, but overall she did a pretty solid job.
The 5-7-5 refers to the haiku pattern, which is the main theme of the film. Some familiarity with the Japanese language and haiku dos and don'ts will definitely come in handy, no doubt some of the finer points went right by me, but by the end of the film I did begin to get a feel for the nuances and appeal. That's not to say I became the biggest haiku fan in the world, but at least I got a decent grasp of the directives.
Ogigami's quirkiness is present, but not as much as in her better work. She's too restricted by the classic setup and the predictable direction of the story. The cinematography is decent and performances are nice, though nothing too exceptional. This is just a fun, breezy and pleasant little film, but a bit too by the numbers for my liking.