Don’t write this one off as just a film with a girl exploring her sexuality or using sex to fill a void in her life. Yes, those are parts of Lost Girls and Love Hotels directed by William Olsson, but there are other elements at play here. The elements are sometimes what trip up the film, however.
American Margaret (Alexandria Daddario – Baywatch – 2017, Texas Chainsaw – 2013) is living in Tokyo. She is teaching English. Well, not exactly. She is working at a school which trains young women to be flight attendants and Margaret is demonstrating how to pronounce English words correctly to the students. This is what she does by day. By night it is something completely different.
After work, Margaret goes out with her group of friends who are all foreigners working in Japan. She ends up drinking and then having sex with random men in love hotels. There she meets Kazu (Takehiro Hira – The Floating Castle, The Fighter Pilot), a mysterious man involved in the yakuza. Despite everything she falls in love with him. Though due to his life they cannot really be together.
Margaret is a woman spiralling. On a downwards path she does not seem too concerned about. Behaving in a way which is dangerous in order to forget whatever pain she is feeling inside. Much of what goes on here is rather depressing. Hard to watch another human being unravel. Especially one so young.
If you are here for the sex than you are going to be mightily disappointed. There is not tons of it and what there is isn’t any more explicit than what you saw in a commercial film like 50 Shades of Grey. What does kick it a step up are the well done visuals. Oozing the darkness and adding a stylish look to the whole proceedings.
Though the material here is not great – mostly due to some awkward editing and unsatisfying storyline – who does come out of it smelling like roses is lead Daddario. She turns in a solid performance. Etching out a character who could have been totally unbearable, but she made us care about Margaret. We identify with her pain and confusion about life. See it as legit and Margaret not just as a young woman out of control.