Archive for August 3rd, 2012

It’s 1964 and Tokyo is preparing to welcome the Olympic Games where the eyes of the world will focus on the city. Life carries on for the residents on Third Street who live in the shadow of Tokyo Tower. The people may have grown older but the drama in their lives continue. Japan is bursting with optimism again nearly 20 years after the end of WWII and is in the middle of a boom period. Everybody want to live the good life. Suzuki Auto’s female mechanic Roku has fallen in love for the first time with a handsome young doctor who shows her the high life outside of her neighbourhood though she has to keep the relationship a secret as there are some rumours going around that he has several girlfriends and may have links to the yakuza. Her ‘brother’ Ippei is now a teenager who starts playing the electric guitar. His father is hoping he’ll eventually take over the business but he has no interest in being a car mechanic. Over the road from Suzuki Auto, novelist Chagawa is struggling to compete with a mystery manga writer who is threatening to take his job away from him. His adopted son Junnosuke is studying hard in order to enter Tokyo University whilst Chagawa’s wife is gearing herself to give birth to his child. He also receives news that his father who disowned him for being a novelist is dying at his home. Things don’t get better when he finds out that the mystery manga writer competing against him is none other than his adopted son Junnosuke! Will Roku dump her shady boyfriend and what does the future bode for Chagawa after he loses his job?

Japanese cinema audiences loved the first 2 Always movies. Perhaps it was a chance for them to go all misty-eyed with nostalgia and remembering the good old days that made them so popular. Now 5 years on after the release of the second movie comes the final part of the trilogy and I’m glad to say that the magic formula adopted by the previous movies continues in this one. It is essential that those that have never seen any of the Always movies before should start with the first movie in order to get to know the characters and their quirks better before diving headfirst into this one otherwise it may spoil your experience. Last year when I heard that there was going to be a 3rd movie I did get excited as I really enjoyed the 1st two movies. They may have been unabashedly sentimental movies but that’s what I liked about them. The mix of family entertainment, drama, tears and comedy made it an essential movie experience. It made me want to go back in time to the Showa era and experience it for myself. Once again for the 3rd movie, the meticulous detail the filmmakers have created in capturing the 60’s has to be congratulated. You feel as if you’re really there and living the moment with the characters. You’ve grown to love them and it feels as if you’re visiting long-lost friends once more. That’s why it was such a joy for myself to be in their company again. The main storyline of the movie focuses on the budding romance between Roku and her boyfriend. There are no major plot twists or clichés in this movie – it just follows 2 families’ everyday lives and the only notable tension that transpires is the generation gap that occurs between the younger characters and their elders who think they know better.

The cast are excellent and have settled into their roles so well it’s just like they’re stepping into an old pair of slippers. Even with the new actors that have taken over from the kids in the second movie as the characters have grown up it’s like they belonged with the rest of the regulars. Faultless performances from all involved.

Always 3 is a fantastic end to the trilogy and fans who loved the previous 2 movies will be sad that this could be the final movie. I could feel my eyes tearing up at the thought I would never see Roku, Chagawa and the rest of the residents of Third Street again. It has been wonderful following their lives over the past 7 years. Highly recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

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