Japanese Film 'We Made A Beautiful Bouquet (HanaKoi)' Movie Review | CoolJapan

It’s hard being normal. So says a character in the movie. And there is nothing more normal than toilet paper. Never in another movie has an essential good been featured this predominantly. For almost 20 minutes into the movie, the lead characters fumble with two bundles of toilet paper around Tokyo, after a chance meeting at the train station where they had missed the last train. The movie, by the way, is named We Made a Beautiful Bouquet.

Japanese Film 'We Made A Beautiful Bouquet (HanaKoi)' Movie Review

Young, gentle love blossoms between Kinu (Kasumi Arimura) and Mugi (Masaki Suda) in We Made a Beautiful Bouquet, a couple who is so in synch they even have the same shoes.

Have you ever met a stranger who seems to love everything you love too? From her favourite song to his favourite movie, each found an echo in another. It’s almost as if it’s written in the stars. And so it begins.

Japanese Film 'We Made A Beautiful Bouquet (HanaKoi)' Movie Review

It takes two hands to clap. In this case, four. It was interesting to see Kinu (right) taking the initiative in most of the major steps during the relationship.

With a deft dusting of nostalgia, we are taken through the last five years of music and movies as the couple goes through the steps of adulting, in the company of Japanese icons like Golden Kamuy and Zelda. Fans of manga will no doubt revel in the brief sighting of Mamoru Oshii, synonymous with the legendary animated cyberpunk classic Ghost in The Shell.

How do you face the pressures of mounting pressures from society and most of all, your parents? Do you get worn down or will you try to find a way to reconcile your passions with work? “Be careful,” Kinu warns Mugi of her parents. “They are like walking ad agencies, full of catchy life slogans.” Indeed her mother insists that entering the workforce is like stepping into a bath; you will feel better once you do it.

Japanese Film 'We Made A Beautiful Bouquet (HanaKoi)' Movie Review

Pressure from society threatens to tear them apart. But first, a bubble bath.

And that is the true charm of the movie — television screenwriter Yuji Sakamoto’s signature wit in everyday dialogue. His return to film after 14 years is a quiet triumph. Studded with gems and charming observations of daily life, he breathes truth in a chronicle of tender love and all that it could have been.

Perhaps it is the magic of Sakamoto’s writing, the delicate nuanced portrayal of the lead characters or the beguiling refrain of a bittersweet romance so familiar today. Whatever it was, it touched the hearts of millions. As a box office hit in 2021, it held the top spot for six weeks after its opening. Audiences who saw themselves in the story turned a seemingly nondescript love story into a phenomenon. In just three months, word of mouth drove ticket sales to three billion yen (around SGD36 million).

Japanese Film 'We Made A Beautiful Bouquet (HanaKoi)' Movie Review

There is no fancy camerawork or dramatic scenarios in We Made a Beautiful Bouquet. Just an honest look at a relationship, until the inevitable.

“We were so close,” says the goalkeeper of the infamous Germany versus Brazil match of 2014’s World Cup where the latter lost seven goals to one. Kinu seeks consolation that her life will never be as bad as Brazil at that moment. But like the goalkeeper, there are no regrets. The journey has been a beautiful one.

Somewhere in the movie, it says that the survival rate of love is just a few percent. All we can do is sit across from the table and share what we love.

Here’s a sneak peek.

Movie opens on 17 June 2021 in selected Golden Village cinemas in Singapore.
*The sneak preview is on 11-13 June 2021.

All photos from: ©2021 "We Made A Beautiful Bouquet" Film Partners.