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‘Lost Girls & Love Hotels’ (review)

Produced by Lawrence Inglee, Lauren Mann
Written by Catherine Hanrahan
Directed by Willliam Olsson
Starring Alexandra Daddario, Takehiro Hira,
Misuzu Kanno, Yasunari Takeshima, Andrew Rothney,
Haruka Imou, Kate Easton, Carice van Houten

 

Alexandra Daddario gives another solid performance as a lonely and depressed woman living in Japan who frequents love hotels – hotels specifically designed for a several hour stay for sexual liaisons.

She has a good job, working as an assistant teacher at a flight attendant training school.

The students love her, but her boss sees through her and isn’t above sending her home when she arrives late and very obviously hungover.

The teacher, to save face, says aloud – so the students can hear – that she can tell Daddario has the flu and should go home, but she privately speaks to her assistant later and tells her that she believes in her but she needs to get her act together.

In the meantime, Daddario shows no signs of slowing down her crazy after hours escapades.

She gets drunk nightly with other expats, Ines (Carice van Houten) and Liam (Andrew Rothney).

After she meets a magnetic, handsome Japanese man (who also has some killer tattoos and is played with great charisma by Takehiro Hira), they start a sexual relationship that eventually deepens.

Daddario is ideally cast, as she has huge, piercing and expressive eyes that convey everything from sexual longing to joy to profound sadness to intense fear.

Everyone in the cast is good, and the film does a nice job of setting up the world of Japanese love hotels.

The cinematography, location work and set design are all aces, evoking time and place quite well.

That said, the film was slow going and at times flat-out tedious for me.

Full disclosure: I’m not a big fan of films about people spiraling down due to their addictions. I’m one of the few people who barely got through Requiem For a Dream, for example.

There are certainly exceptions. I quite liked the recent Uncut Gems and I love Dead Ringers.

I also liked the Richard Brooks film from 1977, Looking For Mr. Goodbar with Diane Keaton. It was about a schoolteacher, beloved by her students, who cruises bars at night looking for rough sex.

Lost Girls & Love Hotels immediately reminded me of that film but it’s not nearly as good, alas.

It has the fine qualities I’ve already mentioned and some very good moments (there’s a very nice, emotionally resonant scene near the end of the film) but it honestly tried my patience.

Those who have a greater appreciation for films about addiction will almost surely get more out of Lost Girls than me.

Lost Girls & Love Hotels is available now On Demand and Digital HD.

 

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