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Author and artist Catherine Hanrahan has adapted her novel of the same name for the screen and William Olsson directs. It is the story of Margaret, a young American woman in Tokyo, who has snagged a job teaching trainee flight attendants how to enunciate their English properly. Margaret drinks a lot, parties a lot, shows up hungover and late to work; she is also into BDSM, and is a sub, but can’t find any satisfactory partner, until she chances across Kazu (Takehiro Hira), a yakuza mobster whose naked body naturally turns out to be almost completely covered in scary tattoos. He has exactly the right fiercely negligent ruthlessness when he takes her to love hotels, but through an ironic quirk of fate turns out to have a softer side – something that this liaison with Margaret has unlocked, and in bed confesses to her mournfully that he is about to get married, and this lends something weirdly poignant and melancholy to their eroticism.
The film isn’t perfect, and there is a touch of orientalism about the obsessive-affair-with-Japanese-man trope (which surfaced also in Wash Westmoreland’s The Earthquake Bird in 2019). But there is also something well controlled in the movie as it maintains its cool, even pace and Alexandra Daddario’s performance as the vulnerable, secretive yet emotionally open Margaret is smart. There is also good support from Carice van Houten as Margaret’s cheerfully cynical expat friend Ines and also from Misuzu Kanno as Nakamura, the older woman who is Margaret’s employer, balancing her competing impulses towards caring and disapproval.
• Released on 8 February on digital formats.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Lost Girls and Love Hotels review – submission and secrets in erotic Tokyo drama | Film