It is really amazing how depressing the Japanese can be without a lot of effort. Just looking back at what Japanese films I have seen that focus on the relationships between two people (not a huge reportoire, admittedly), not a single one springs to mind that didn’t leave me with an impending sense of doom.
Along comes Love/Juice, and once again we look at the tragedy of unrequited love. Well that’s not necessarily true. There is definitely a level of intimacy that exists between the two leads. But it exists without the depth of feeling that one seeks from the other without reciprocation – which is the basic premise of the film and the source of melancholy that permeates the film.
So no, it really isn’t a film to leave a warm fuzzy feeling within you. Yet it is really quite well made despite the fact this is Kaze Shindo’s first film on a really small budget and a very tight schedule. It’s definitely worth while keeping an eye out for what she does next with some decent resources.
So while Love/Juice is quite depressing, it is not quite to the level of wrist-slashing action I got out of walking out of Dolls. If anything, the end has such a neutral resolution that, in light of the rest of the film, it could be seen as ‘happy’.