Genre: Romance/Comedy Director: Hiroshi Yoshino Cast: Haruka Ayase, Naohito Fujiki, Yuka Itaya, Naohito Fujiki, Yasuko Matsuyuki, Ken Yasuda RunTime: 1 hr 50 mins Rating: PG Released By: GV & Encore Films Official Website:www.encorefilms.com/hotaru
Opening Day: 23 August 2012
Synopsis: Hotaru Amemiya is like a "dried fish," competent and put-together at work but a lazy slob at home in sweats with zero interest in dating. She would rather "lounge around than fool around." After many ups and downs she finally ends up happily married to her boss Seiichi Takano, who she had been sharing a house with. And that was where the TV series ended. In the movie, Hotaru becomes a new woman and strives to become a refined lady, and the moving love story of the couple's newly married life unfolds... …Not! Hotaru hasn't changed a bit. Even as a new wife, she lounges around on the veranda of their home like a walrus. But when she finds out that her husband's dream is to spend a "Roman holiday with a loved one," she decides to go on their honeymoon to Italy. She's never traveled overseas before and frankly doesn't feel up to it at all, but since her husband seems to be really looking forward to it, she'll do this honeymoon thing for his sake! Thus HOTARU THE MOVIE is a spectacular romantic comedy set in Italy. There, the newlyweds meet Rio, another "dried fish" in Italy, and her younger brother Yu, and all hell breaks loose! What will become of Hotaru, the bride who rushes around a foreign city in pursuit of her beloved groom, Manager Takano, who has suddenly disappeared in Rome? Will the two be able to find eternal love in Italy?
Based on a popular manga turned television drama series, Hotaru is back with her adorable and dorky self as she and her newly wedded husband bring us to one of the most romantic city in the world, Rome. The movie is still primarily centered on Hotaru, who is known to be the “dried fish woman” (himono onna). She would do her best at work but whenever she is back at home, she would be off-mode. This would mean that she change into her jersey, sport that awkward hairstyle, roll around at home, gulp down cold beer, and refuse to move even 2cm to reach for a snack. Even after she got married, she remains the same. That is all you have to know about them for now, if you had not watched the television drama series.
However, she decided to give in a little, and make her way out of the country for the sake of the husband and their honeymoon. At first she was really reluctant to travel so many miles away from home, but in the end took up the challenge for she thought it was her husband’s dream to have a romantic holiday at Rome. Before they even got to Rome, the comedy had all started. She met a young man named Yu, who has similar living habits as her. Later on, she also met another himono onna, Rio, who happens to live in the same place as her. After a series of events, they also came to realize that Yu is actually Rio’s brother!
The narrative of the movie is quite easy to follow, as it mainly revolves around the four characters. Although this is a rom-com, the overarching theme is about relationships, a story that is not exclusively about the couple. It involves their encounters with other people in Rome. This is quite a refreshing change as the relationship and romance between Hotaru and Takano (more affectionately known as buchou) had already been told over the two drama series and could have gotten boring.
Although the filming location does not have much impact on the story, it increased the overall appeal of the movie as the beautiful architecture and breathtaking views are captured in the film. You would find very familiar out-of-the-postcard views, which are nothing less than classy.
Other than the regular cast, Ayase Haruka (Takano Hotaru) and Fujiki Naohito (Takano Seiichi), guest cast Tegoshi Yuya (Saeki Yu) and Matsuyuki Yasuko (Saeki Rio) has effectively spiced up the movie and evoke some laughter. For one, Tegoshi Yuya, a member of popular Japanese idol group NEWS and Tegomass, is quite an eye candy. He is quite a natural in acting dorky and comical. Matsuyuki Yasuko also handled her character well, acting someone who is overcoming the distress of losing her loved ones.
Ayase Haruka has worked her character well too, simply bumming around and lazy but still earning hearts. It may seem that the interactions between Ayase and Fujiki are a little reserved, but they have worked a long way together through the drama series and share such some chemistry. For instance, Takano’s gaze at Hotaru always delivers a lot of warmth and affection.
It must have been a long wait for the fans of this drama series. Now that it’s finally here, be with them on this heartwarming and enriching journey to Rome!
(An enjoyable and feel-good movie with a couple of suprises!)