Monday, June 9, 2008

Review: Heavenly Forest

Summary
Alternative Titles: Tada, kimi wo aishiteru
Genre: Romance
Release Date: Oct. 27, 2006
Starring:

  • Miyazaki Aoi as Satonaka Shizuru
  • Tamaki Hiroshi as Segawa Makoto
Makoto is a shy person who has no friends. After he attends his university entrance ceremony, he meets Shizuru. Unlike others, Makoto becomes more comfortable around Shizuru. They develop a close friendship and Makoto tells her about his hobby, photography. Makoto also shows her a secret forest where he gets most of his photos from. Their bond grows closer, but they face obstacles that could ruin everything.

Review
Heavenly Forest was a big surprise for me. It turned out to be more entertaining than I first thought, most likely because of the characters. The two main characters aren’t the usual ones you see often in a romance J-movie. Makoto is a sky freshman at his university and Shizuru, also a first year student, is someone who doesn’t have growth hormones, has no friends, and is sensitive to other people. Throughout the movie, it’s interesting to see how an unlikely couple develop a relationship. As for the story, it was okay. I thought it had some originality, but most of it was a slice-of-life story. With that in mind, I thought some parts would be very boring, but there weren’t any scenes that were too boring that it ruined the movie.

Another thing I thought was well done was these two scenes that were extremely beautiful. I don’t want to reveal too much because the two scenes contain major spoilers. One scene takes place in the forest, about three quarters through the movie. It can also be argued that this scene was the climax to the movie. The other scene took place about 10 minutes before the end of the movie. Also, I thought the whole ending was very good, using flashbacks and photos to elegantly end the movie. The last major aspect of the movie that I enjoyed was the acting by Miyazaki Aoi. The other actors were alright, but the charming Miyazaki fits the role perfectly.

The only beef I had with Heavenly Forest was that it vaguely explains Shizuru’s side of the story in the last quarter of the movie. I thought it would have been better if it explained Miyazaki’s character is more depth and what happened to her towards the end of the movie instead of focusing all the attention on Makoto.


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Pros
  • Story isn’t as boring as first thought
  • Two scenes were extremely well-done
  • Miyazaki Aoi and Tamaki Hiroshi have great chemistry
Cons
  • Vaguely explains Shizuru’s side of the story during last quarter
  • Ending might be a bit disappointing for some
Recommendation
Heavenly Forest is my favourite live-action romance J-movie so far. Not a must-watch, but it’s worth a try for most fans of romance J-movies.

Rating: 8.5

Video Preview
Note: I think this trailer reveals way too much about the movie. It even shows a scene from the last few scenes of the movie! Only watch the first 50 seconds of this trailer if you want to avoid the spoilers.


Related Reviews (Romance J-movies)
Nada Sousou
Nana 1 & Nana 2

2 comments:

lovelycomplex September 29, 2009 at 11:34 AM  

how can i create my own template like your THE KEIZOU JOURNAL? I'm just wondering because I'm just a beginner..pls. help me, onegai?

Dani- Elle October 8, 2009 at 3:54 AM  

this movie is from renai sashin. even the name of the characters are the same. how come no one gives credit to that renai sashin????

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