Evergreen Love Review
Director: Koichiro Miki
Starring: Mitsuki Takahata, Iwata Takanori, Abe Joji, Hana Imai, and Shinya Owada
Based on the Arikawa Hiro, Evergreen Love centers on Sayaka (Takahata), a lonely office worker who lives alone. Unhappy with work and her love life, things change when she finds a handsome man asking for food outside her home. Giving him a bit of ramen, she spontaneously asks if he would like to stay the night. Accepting, the man, Itsuki (Iwata), reveals himself to be a good cook and a surprising expert of plant life. As the two become unlikely roommates and settle into a satisfying life, the truth of who is Itsuki really will come to light.
A fairly gentle drama, Evergreen Love runs on the predictable side. It has two attractive leads that more than enough chemistry and enough saccharine moments with delving into overacting. Takahata is quite good as the at first unsociable Sayaka. She truly conveys loneliness and the appearance of Itsuki truly changes her life. Her dramatic scenes are quite strong and though I haven’t seen her in anything previous, I have to say she may be an actress to keep an eye on. The strength of the film does indeed lie with her and it was great to see such a young actress have a real hold on the character. Iwata is perhaps the perfect actor for the role; he is good looking, sweet, and pretty much everything that women are looking for in this type of dramatic romance. While this makes him a bit a fantasy character, it’s the type of casting that guarantees sold tickets as the film’s success proves.
The film actually delves into seemingly multiple genres including food film, hyper serious drama, and even a bit of comedy. Overall, it works though there is a sense of disconnect considering the somewhat long period of time covered in the film which makes the tonal shifts a bit jarring. The film uses a nice light musical score that fits with the nature of the film; it is deliberate but soft and weaves itself within the events in a pretty interesting way. It is kind of difficult to articulate in writing but is fairly noticeable in a viewing.
In the end, Evergreen Love is a generally solid Japanese drama serves as a showcase for some new talent, especially Takahata. While it suffers from an ending that seems forced, the natural progression of events and likability of the principals result in a fairly satisfying if not amazing filmgoing experience. A solid effort.