For those of us who have had the experience of living alone, away from our homes, it is no wonder that we experience a lot of exclusion and loneliness. It is a direct result of where we come from and proves to be quite a difficult situation to deal with. It is moments like that which make us realize how comfortable home is, and leads to a sense of longing and homesickness. It drives us to do things that are beyond our comfort zone, yet bring us comfort in times of severe distress. Lost Girls and Love Hotels is a story that strikes way too close to home when that is taken into consideration. Adapted into a motion picture now, Lost Girls and Love Hotels is one that will definitely hit you in the feels, and pull you into its world. But does the movie live up to the standards of the book?
I’m not a huge fan of the way movies these days adapt content from novels and books. It almost seems like a disservice to the original source material. Sure, there are different books that are exceptions to this rule, the case in point being The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Or maybe even the Notebook. But then again, they are exceptions to the norm, rather than being the rule.
So when Lost Girls and Love Hotels came out with its trailer, I was quite excited to see what the new movie brought to the table in terms of content and whether it stayed true to the original script. The trailer, no doubt, is one of the finest I have seen from the genre. But does the movie live up to those same expectations? That is the question I’m going to answer today. So keep reading the Lost Girls and Love Hotels review to find out whether it is a movie you should spend your time with or one that you should give a pass.
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Lost Girls And Love Hotels: The Review
Lost Girls and Love Hotels is a movie that is based directly on the novel of the same name by Catherine Hanrahan from 2006. It is quite an old story that received a lot of love when it came out, mostly due to the racy content and sense of dark romanticism that it portrayed. It quickly became the talk of the town with its unprecedented themes and sense of sexuality. So there is quite a rich history behind the movie. And all is not in vain when it comes to the originality of the movie. Because Hanrahan is also behind the scenes for the movie, as she is directly credited for the screenplay. So you can expect some amount of respect for the source material here. Now the two movies I mentioned earlier might be making more sense.
I mentioned the Perks of Wallflower and the Notebook earlier because they are both amazing examples of movies that have been adapted from the respective books, and both of which had the original authors directly involved with the production of the movie, which in some way lent to the authenticity and appeal of the movies. And the same is the case with Lost Girls and Love Hotels, which manages to remain surprisingly authentic to the source material.
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Lost Girls and Love Hotels: The Premise
In the main role, we have Alexandra Daddario, who plays the role of the protagonist Margaret, who is a desolate young woman who finds herself lost within the crowd as she resides in the buzzing city of Tokyo, where life passes her by at lightning speed each second. She finds herself stuck in the same old loop, as she teaches English pronunciation at a Japanese flight attendant school. Among the Japanese girls, where she is an outlier, there is not much she can do to feel included, and finds herself getting through her days, just to meet her fellow ex-pats at night, who provide her a sense of relief from the monotony of every day. Irony at its best, I must say.
However, all is not the same every day. Each night, Margaret finds herself finding a new man to take her to a love hotel. For those of you who are from Asia, you already know how it goes. But for those who don’t, love hotels are a form of short term lodging available to people who are looking for a place to have casual and no strings attached sex with strangers. It is a popular form of lodging in the hookup culture, and Margaret finds herself going outside with a new man every night. Perhaps that is the only thing that never remains the same about her day.
That changes when she eventually spots Kazu, a handsome man played by Takehiro Hira, who also happens to be a member of the Yakuza. Sparks fly and Margaret quickly finds herself drawn to Kazu, who happens to be as dangerous and safe as she would like. She quickly finds herself clicking with him like no one else, as they discover their mutual interests and find themselves drawn to each other. Margaret quickly discovers Kazu’s ties with the Yakuza and the fact that he is about to get married, but that doesn’t really seem to faze her. And from there, the romance buds and flourishes in ways that are dark and messed up in ways that are better left unsaid.
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Coming to the actual review for the movie, there is a lot to be said about the way that the movie has been done, or the story adapted. The movie tries to remain loyal to the source material throughout its run, and there is no doubt about that. But there is also a sense of absurdism to the film that seems like it would have better been amended to fit the plot of a movie rather than that of a novel. Some things feel out of place, and others just don’t make sense.
The plot of the movie is quite a weak one and centers around pure hedonism. I found myself trying not to pinpoint all the mistakes and convenient coincidences in the plot, and it was quite difficult to do so because the movie is chock full of them. A lot happens at pure convenience, and there isn’t a proper explanation or any amount of sane reasoning for the rest. It just happens to flow as it feels, and tends to take directions that make no sense to anyone who is watching the movie attentively. But I digress.
The movie, which is somehow supposed to be the story of a young troubled woman living away from her land and finding her way in life, turns out to be quite flat. The dark psychological caricature that the movie tried to go for just isn’t there. The sense of alienation and the sense of comfort Margaret finds in Kazu doesn’t click as well as it should. Why should Kazu be any different than the people she finds herself alienated by? The movie never answers that question. The movie gives us background on why Margaret is the way she is but fails to answer the simple question of who she is. And that is a huge failure. One that completely misses the point of character development.
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What Else Is Wrong about Lost Girls and Love Hotels?
Talking about character development, usually, the saving grace of a movie with a weak plot is the amount of talent the actors bring on board. With Alexandra Daddario and Takehiro Hira both being acclaimed actors with a good track record behind them, their performances were downright disappointing. I don’t blame the actors, except maybe for the fact that they took roles that were never suited to them. The acting in the movie never hits a nerve, and the actors never play the roles with the rigour that they were intended to be played with. It all turns pretty awkward pretty quickly and will have you scratching your heads over what went wrong.
There is simply no chemistry between the two leads. Which completely misses the point of the movie. The movie finds itself fishing for a good plot where there is none to be found, and then misses the opportunity to make it into a visual and sensual fest for the viewer, completely missing the point of the entire story. Lost Girls and Love Hotels is directly centered around the sense of attraction and chemistry between Margaret and Kazu, and to see that completely missing on the screen, is a huge deal breaker for this movie. What is the point of eating fish and chips when the fish is stale and the chips are soggy? It completely misses the point of the movie and ends up in an awkward position between sensual and cringy.
All of this leads to a movie that tries to be sensual and hot in every way possible and fails in a spectacular fashion. The plot is off, and whatever happens in the movie doesn’t make any sense or provide and context to the audience. Everything happens at convenience, and there is no time when there is a sense of gratification from the story. The acting is simply incompatible, with both the artists clearly not suited to the roles that they have been cast in. Added to that is the lack of chemistry that Daddario and Hira share, making for a movie that fails to achieve something out of anything.
If anything, I would say that the portrayal of Tokyo is quite nice and the way the visuals have been handled has some sense of taste, but other than that, I find myself hard-pressed to find anything worth appreciating.
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Lost Girls and Love Hotels: Verdict
Lost Girls and Love Hotels are one of the most disappointing movies that I have had to review so far. I went into the movie with a lot of expectations and came out spectacularly disappointed. Lost Girls and Lost Hotels turns out to be a movie that doesn’t really do anything with all that it does. It becomes too light to be taken seriously as a romantic movie, too unsensual too become a movie designed to induce pleasure, and lacks the emotional depth to convey the dark emotions of the original story. So it is a complete disappointment in my opinion. And it has my disapproval. I would not recommend you to watch the movie.
Lost Girls and Love Hotels is currently available on Amazon Prime Video. You may check it out at the following link:
The movie currently holds a rating of 4.6 out of 10 on IMDb, based on multiple user reviews. IMDb is our preferred platform for all movies and TV shows.
You may watch the trailer down below:
What do you think about the movie? Did you enjoy it? How did you find the acting and the plot of the movie to be? Let me know in the comments down below.
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