Bittersweet Review

bittersweet     Bittersweet is a Japanese film based off of a Japanese comic book, starring Haruna Kawaguchi and Kento Hayashi, and it was directed by Shogo Kusano. The story is about a girl called Maki, who is messy, is not good at cooking, and absolutely hates vegetables, happens to move in with a guy named Nagisa, and falls in love with him. Maki tries everything to get his attention, however, it turns out that Nagisa is gay. It is pretty “bittersweet” for Maki, but at least she gets to live with Nagisa… but on one condition: Maki has to eat everything Nagisa cooks for her. Although Maki hates vegetables, she is amazed by how good Nagisa is at cooking, and she starts liking vegetables. Although they fought a lot at first, by living together, they get to know each other’s problems and past, and start caring for each other.

     Honestly, I really did not expect much on this movie before seeing it: a girl falls in love with a gay boy… it will not go anywhere. However, the movie addresses much more things than just a relationship between Nagisa and Maki, but also their family problems and how they solve them. The setting where Maki hates vegetable was unbelievable at first: she passes out just by seeing vegetables and gets mad by hearing a word “vegetable.” The movie is based off of a comic book so it could have characters who overreact, but I thought it was too much, until I found out that Maki hates vegetables not just because of their taste. She has an unhappy memory of vegetables: her dad quit his job and opened a vegetable farm, which happened to destroy their family livelihood that led her to decide to leave home. Because of that, Maki believes vegetables are the root of all evils, which is sort of believable. Maki eventually finds out that Nagisa lost his brother in the past, and he blames himself for being unable to find out his brother’s illness even though they lived together. After knowing each other’s background, Nagisa takes Maki to her home, and in return, she takes him to his brother’s grave yard to face their past.

     Overall, the movie had a lot of humour. It addresses some serious topics like I mentioned before and Nagoya’s being gay, so it was very good to not make it too serious. The scene the audience and I laughed the most was where Maki visits her home with Nagisa. She gives a very touching speech at their dinner table. She talks about why she left the house and how sorry she is for rejecting their kindness when she knew her parents just wanted to support her.  I cried over the scene and I heard the other audience were crying as well. Then right after the speech, she drinks the beer her dad made and spits the beer all over the place. It was quite unexpectable with it coming in the middle of the very moving scene. Sometimes, we could tell when a movie just wants to make the audience cry, which is quite disappointing. I loved how the movie was not just a piece of touching scenes, but also did not forget to make them laugh throughout the whole movie.

     The main two actors are pretty famous in Japan, they often appear in teen movies. Harlan Kawaguchi, who did Maki was casted very well. Her acting was so good, the audience can tell she is very happy when she is eating food cooked by Nagisa. Her smile and how she is amazed by Nagisa’s cookings really made us happy. Kento Hayashi acted amazing as well, although his role was gay when he is (as far as I know) straight in real life. However, although he is supposed to be professional at food, the way he eats was not sophisticated such as the way he holds chopsticks. Although none of the other actors are popular, they did a great job, and each of them has a great sense of humour. Like I mentioned before, it is based off of a Japanese comic book, so they sometimes overreact and make exaggerated facial expressions, but I liked how they kept the original comic’s atmosphere and used it in a movie.

     I also liked how it introduced some Japanese culture. Maki’s hometown is located in the countryside, where you see traditional Japanese houses and vegetable stands where people shop at. Maki also dresses up in kimono for her be-lated coming of age ceremony, which we do when we turn to the age of twenty. Nagisa makes bento for Maki every morning, which also represents Japanese culture. It must be interesting for foreign audiences to see such traditions.

    Overall, it was a pretty cute movie. I really enjoyed watching it. They did a good job showing the food Nagisa cooks. Every time he finishes cooking and brings the dishes to the dinning table, the audience were all like “Wooooah.” The director did a great job making this movie very fun and heart-warming when it addresses a couple of serious issues. The theatre was fully crowded. I came in five minutes earlier, but the seats were almost full so I had to sit in the front. Other people seemed to have enjoyed the movie as well. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who wants to laugh, cry, and have fun watching food.

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