Two years after being abandoned by the inscrutable, seductive Baku, Asako is stunned to meet Ryohei, the spitting image of her ex-lover. Caught between reality and a dream-state, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s latest film explores a young woman’s struggle to reckon with a past love she can’t escape.
There is a breezy, languid quality to the movies of Ryusuke Hamaguchi. One of Japan’s best contemporary directors, his work examines the ephemeral, often inexplicable nature of human relationships and the mysterious, magnetic forces that draw people together and pull them apart. Adapted from Tomoka Shibasaki’s 2010 novel Netemo sametemo, Hamaguchi’s latest film follows a young woman haunted by the lingering memory of the lover who so unceremoniously abandoned her. Shortly after the titular Asako begins her whirlwind romance with the shaggy yet irresistibly attractive Baku, he vanishes without a trace. Over two years later, while delivering coffee in Tokyo, Asako meets Ryohei, Baku’s exact double. Struck with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu, Asako is uncertain whether accepting Ryohei’s courtship will lead to a happy new chapter in her life or rather provide a painful and enduring reminder of her traumatic first love.