Shady Grove (1999)

Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - Japan  |  
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Acclaimed maverick filmmaker Shinji Aoyama departs from his trademark bloody crime films such as his landmark Helpless (1996) to direct a brittle, engrossing romantic drama. Rika (Rei Kurita), a bright, attractive, and driven young woman, is intent on marrying her dreamy boyfriend Seiichi Ono (Tomohiro Sekiguchi) who is not only tall and handsome but also an up-and-coming executive. One day, Ono abruptly dumps her. Shocked, Rika chugs a bottle of wine and calls people randomly on her cell phone, hoping to find someone that will listen to her woeful tale. Unable to follow the advice of self-help books or the one person she is able to get ahold of -- Kono Shingo (Arata) -- she stumbles over to Ono's apartment and threatens to commit suicide. Rika then hires a private eye to tail her errant lover. Ono eventually consents to marriage with her only when it becomes apparent that it would help his career. Like his earlier films, Aoyama renders the world of Japan's youth as solipsistic and inert; they're more attached to their belongings than to other people.