Continuing on with the big four, next up we have STARTING OVER!
Here we have another special one from Japan that I stumbled upon literally by mistake and I was surprised by its sincerity and just how emotional it was by just relying on the actors alone!
Yes, this is another one of those lovely ‘silent’ movies that I love so much! And by that I don’t mean that they lack sound, I mean that there is very little to no background music being used to manipulate/intensify emotional scenes. There is music but it is used in scenery shots, not during character interactions which I 100% prefer.
For me, this style makes the movie more emotional and intense when we are left with just the characters, their words, their expressions and the heavy, oppressive atmosphere! Those types of movies hit me hard and leave an impression never to be forgotten and while I am sure it won’t be a lot of people’s cup of tea, and thus I don’t think the fragile of hearts should watch this, I totally recommend it.
Okay, that is a line that is supposed to come at the end of the post but you know me, since when did I make sense?!
While we on that topic of coming last, I should tell you now that this movie also ends on a HOPEFUL note. Seeing as it came out years before the others, I guess it is safe to say that the HOPE started here?! Well, until I find another that came before it that is!
STARTING OVER touches on a subject that I have not seen another movie do yet. I am sure it exists but I have not seen it yet! And that subject is – second chances! Hence the title! Which was surprising in and of itself in that Nana and Marin, our two girls BTW, their relationship not only survived High School but apparently even before then as we get a scene where Marin remembers how they too used to blow bubbles as they watch young girls play in the park, meaning that they had been friends since they were little!
This means that they went from childhood friends, went through Junior High still as friends, got to High School, where I think their relationship changed from being just friends, as we never really get the exact moment where it turns from being friends (and Nana being jealous of Marin spending time with boys, that aren’t her type) and into lovers, two seasons later!
We never got a confession scene, which while I was disappointed by at first, later, I actually saw how so fitting it was for their relationship. They might even have been already lovers when we meet them in High School and they were just not ‘out’ yet, I mean, they were pretty close in those few scene we see of them in High School already!
It just went to show how complex their relationship was, or maybe let’s say, how natural it was! They were already partners in life even without knowing it!
And speaking of partners, the issues these two go through, so life-like, with the way the movie manages to make the weight of the decisions that they need to make so real and so heavy that you just can’t help but connect with how realistic they are!
The two are also very well balanced and well written that you can’t pick a side! You see both sides’ views and you see both their mistakes and their points and you can’t see a way out other than the two of them together!
Usually in relationships there is a girl you can’t help but support but here, well, good luck with that!
While at first it might seem that Marin (played by Endo Nina) might seem like the innocent one to root for, you find out that unlike Nana (played by Akizuki Mika) whose life is in a complete mess, she does not have the struggles that Nana has!
But even then you get a glimpse of how Marin’s life is not all life and roses, like when Nana has to be the one to accompany her to and from the hospital for surgery (which I still can’t decide if it was for abortion after that experimental sex with a guy that she had right after the first big fight they had – is it allowed n Japan? Or if she was getting her eggs remove, but then I don’t remember them having that conversation) and she was crying out for her mother in her sleep on the way back and then wondering why it was not her mother there to support her instead of Nana, whom she had just broken up with!
But then you see, there lies the wrangler!
It took me a lot of thinking nights about this movie to come to this conclusion but, what if the reason that Nana is not in touch with her parents was because she came out to them and they rejected her?
There was this scene where they had just come back from a night of fun and they are at Nana’s place and while she slept, Marin was looking up some very interesting information on the internet!
Information about same-sex marriage! Information about gay rights and marriage in Japan, which at the time did not exist!
With that one little scene we get to understand how so deep in love with Nana, Marin was! She was ready to have the two spend the rest of their lives together! She was ready to face the world with Nana even if the world was not ready for them but she was trying to see how they could move forward together!
Which really hurts a lot during their conversation when Nana finally talks to her about her late night jobs that she did to get money, which was meeting other men at night! And while she does say it was nothing and there was no sex, you can now understand how pained Marin was to learn of this!
Another world of hurt, on Marin’s part comes when Nana thinks that Marin does not want others to know that they are together! But Marin says that Nana does not understand. She is not hiding it because she wants to, just like Nana did not do the late night job because she wanted to but they were still young and they sucked at explaining themselves and there was pride still and okay, Nana was in the wrong here but she had an excuse!
She was basically hospitalised before Nana had even graduated High School and it was up to Nana to look after her and pay the hospital bills and look after herself so imagine the stress of that at that age so you can forgive her for having a bit of tunnel vision but then you see, that is where Marin comes in to fill up the void! Marin looks to the outside where Nana does not!
Marin looks after the outside world of theirs while Nana, who is like the wife of the two, looks after the homely side of their lives!
The two are like yin and yang of life which is why you just know that without each other the two will not survive and that right there is made clear by the movie which is why the only logical answer to the question that Marin asks Nana at the end is YES!
This movie is so great in many ways! The best is that it shows growth! Nana and Marin grow and learn the meaning of being in a relationship! They also grow individually as we see for example, Nana stops seeing her mother’s decisions to stay with a guy that brings her nothing but pain (according to Nana’s POV) as someone that her mother needs and with that she too learns that she needs Marin and that being with her will mean putting up with some pain in the process but that in the end, she will always need Marin!
On the other side, Marin tried out the prospect she had brought up in their first fight about how there might be someone right for her other than Nana, but when she tried that, she not only did not seem to enjoy it but ended up getting knocked up in the process which made her life in worse shape than it had been!
Whenever they split it was Marin who always contacted Nana first to talk!
But that was the other role that Marin brought to the play that is their life! Without her there would be no moving forward! She put in the effort to keep the two together! Nana was the introvert of the two and without Marin she would have probably given up already!
Seriously, the amount of emo moments Nana had, I am surprised there was no suicides in this movie!
It was that emotional!
Just as you think this is it, that Nana had reached the end of her rope, she is saved by Marin once again, this time with only a missed call message!
Marin tells her how she had a dream about their High School life! The dream was about that day they were playing basket ball at the pack. She asks if the two can’t start over. When she says from the beginning, I take this as to mean that it was after this scene that they went from just being friends.
I guess now we know where the turn happened!
Nana’s reaction to the message, and again I give props to the director of this movie for their approach!
In addition to there being no background music, they let the scene fully breathe! There are no cuts. Just raw scene of actors doing their things! I love this type of filming so damn much! There should be more movies like this! They are super effective!
After that message Nana makes her way to the park and to the basket ball court that Marin had mentioned and while we do not see them meet, we see that the both of them are watching the same guy play by himself and the weather perfectly matches beaning that they did meet and that Nana said Yes to the two starting over.
From the very beginning!
But we know that this time things will work out! They have seen what being in a relationship entails and what effort is needed to be put in for it to work and the sacrifices that need to be made! They were already friends since childhood but that boat already sailed! They have moved on now. They are ready to face the world together and this time it would be just the two of them! Nana’s mother is okay now. She has someone to take care of her just as Nana now has someone to take care of and of her too!
They are each other’s necessary half!
I love this movie!
As you can tell from the logo it’s on gagaoolala, so go watch it there!