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In Japanese with English & Chinese Subtitles
Takehiko Shinjo
Cast: Mao Inoue, Masaki Okada, Natsuki Harada, Keiko Horiuchi, Yoshihiko Hosoda, Masataka Kubota, Yôko Moriguchi, Toru Nakamura
RunTime: 2 hrs 2 mins
Released By: Encore Films & Cathay-Keris Films)
Rating: PG (Scene of Intimacy)
Official Website: http://www.encorefilms.com/firstlove

Opening Day: 21 October 2010


Based on the acclaimed Shogakukan Manga Award-winning sensation in Japan, I GIVE MY FIRST LOVE TO YOU relates Takuma and Mayu's story, which began when they were only 8 years old… Mayu (Mao Inoue) is the young daughter of a heart doctor and Takuma (Masaki Okada) is a boy being treated by her father. The two children meet, become firm friends, and become each other’s first love. Takuma and Mayu overhears Takuma's prognosis, that he will not live past the age of 20. The two distraught children make a promise to each other for an uncertain future, making a wish upon a four-leaf clover… hoping for a miracle. Time passes, and the girl becomes a young woman, and the boy, a young man. Mayu continues to support and love Takuma. On the other hand, Takuma, who knows his days are numbered, pushes away his feelings for Mayu and distances himself from her. What will become of their love while the clock keeps ticking away at Takuma’s life?

Movie Review:

Since time immemorial, we ponder if there can ever be true love. And to add on the line of query, we question whether first love could last or not. This is a sketch of the movie.

As expected of any other movie of this genre, the cast needs to consist of the most popular, heart throbbing and photogenic talents of the lot. Obviously, this movie has the same basic selling points too. However, as the story begins to unfold, the very first instance that possibly captures you is not the porcelain-faced male lead, Masaki Okada (Takuma) or female lead, Mao Inoue (Mayu). Rather, the mesmerizing point was the honest rendition from the little children, who are Takuma and Mayu in their younger days. The children have such cute interactions and excellent emotional displays that make you feel for them very much. For instance, we all know miracles do not happen every day, and wishing upon the four-leave clover will never help, but the childlikeness and the innocent beliefs are so perfect that it hurts one to see them in such despair and desperation on discovering the truth behind Takuma’s illness that you want to cross your fingers and hope for the miracle to be bestowed upon Takuma as well.

As the story continues to unfold, it is marked by pretty simple day-to-day occurrences. However what sets this couple apart from the rest is the apparent time limit that is attached to their love, which was emphasized over and over again. This point is appropriately delivered through the use of the male lead’s voice-overs, where we can also feel the frustration of the male counterpart who literally sees his days numbered. Being framed in reference with other couples of their age, it also exemplifies the significant differences and how they learn to cope with the unfeeling truth, treasuring each other even more.

With the introduction of a rival, boy gets into fist fights for girl, then girl stops boy from fighting because boy will get hurt, then… you know how the story continues. In every sense, the sequences were rather predictable. Even when building towards the climax, predictability is the word. You can almost see everything coming, as though you are one living prophet. However that said, the narrative is still an attractive one. Though cliché, it is not boring; with unexpectedly truthful exchanges between the doctor and the boy, for example. Moreover, the way their love and struggles are detailed is poignant and moving. In this very aspect, Mao Inoue and Masaki Okada do the narrative great justice. Their heartfelt performances are mature and affecting so as to communicate the melodramatic mood of the movie when appropriate. Expect tear jerking moments, where you really cannot help but to cry with them; you feel as helpless and powerless as them, so much that it pricks your heart as much. Surely this applies to both genders (the men sobbed too!).

On the surface, this movie seems to be targeted at wishful youths who have never gotten a sense of reality. Perhaps there is more to it. We cannot deny that it is one story that potentially appeals and speaks to many ages. Whether young or old, one could still vividly recall first love with strong emotions, be it regrets and animosity or sentiment and fondness; one definitely sits at either of the polarities. Having laid such a foundation, it is coupled with outstanding cinematography to deliver a movie attracting millions to watch, making it one of the forerunners in this genre of movies. Be in awe at how they can pay great attention to such minute details, like the changing of seasons acting as elegant time cues. It is a definite pleasure and experience.

Just like in the opening scene where we see cherry blossoms, the closure was also marked with cherry blossoms. It seems to signify the life of Takuma; so transient yet beautiful and elegant in his living years. This is a truly fitting closure where we are reminded that we should not just mourn and remain devastated with the passing of a loved one, instead, celebrate. Heart wrenching and heartbreaking as it is, the joy experienced in between is already a gift that can never ever be taken away. Remember, time is too precious and fleeting to be stuck in unhappy and self-destructing thoughts.

Movie Rating:

(Remember you say first love hurts the most? Yet even if you were given the chance to undo it, you know you wouldn’t have. True love endures… it’s an endearing story that warms your heart)

Review by Tho Shu Ling


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. Threads Of Destiny (2009)

. Sky of Love (2007)

. Nada Sou Sou (2006)

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. Midnight Sun (2006)

. Crying Out Love In the Center of the World (2005)

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