The 8-Year Engagement: A Review

“If I didn’t know that this was based on a true story, I wouldn’t have believed that such kind of love existed.” Those were my thoughts after I watched this movie. After reading its synopsis, I wasn’t sure if this was the type of movie that a person with depression should watch. It didn’t have rainbows and unicorns in it, after all. However, I am currently in a Sato Takeru phase and wanted to see a different role played by this very versatile actor. From a stoic swordsman Kenshin (Ruruouni Kenshin), a quirky – and cute and adorable – butler Mameshiba (Mei-chan no Shitsuji), a moody musical genius Aki (Kanojo wa Uso o Aishisugiteru), a delinquent braided baseball player Yuya (Rookies), we now have Hisashi: a devoted, loving, loyal fiancee who took care of his girlfriend after she fell ill from a brain disease.

Being a sucker for a good love story, I prepared myself for two hours of heart-tugging feels. Plot-wise, if caring for your comatose girlfriend for years is not romantic and sad enough, how about realizing that she has no memories of you after she wakes up? It was like watching The Vow and The Notebook, only more innocent and painful. I understood everyone’s sides: Mai’s parents’ concerns about Hisashi “wasting” years waiting for his fiancee, Hisashi’s steadfast love and faith in Mai’s recovery, and his strength to let her go for her sake. I would be lying if I said I there were no tears shed for this movie. Such love is truly commendable, and something anyone would be lucky to have.

The couple that inspired the movie

The movie itself had a very solid cast. I have first seen Tsuchiya Tao as Makimachi Misao in Rurouni Kenshin. She was much younger then, and seeing her portray the role of Mai gave her another layer of depth. She may have been sick for the most part of the movie, but seeing her character struggling to get better was still very powerful. I have also seen several dramas that have casted Yakushimaru Hiroko and Sugimoto Tetta. These veteran actors were very well chosen as Mai’s parents.

Hisashi and Mai

And then there was Takeru, the main reason why I watched the movie to begin with. It would be difficult for me to write an unbiased review about him. He currently sits in close second (after Kimura Takuya) as my favourite Japanese actor. To see him mature as an actor is a delight to watch. He has transitioned very well from his cute roles to more serious characters. Seeing him play the optimistic Hisashi was very compelling, and a stark contrast to his recent previous roles. I highly recommend this movie to those who are into the pure and faithful love, steadfast and true.

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