- Studio : CoMix Wave Films
- Directed by : Yoshitaka Takeuchi
- Genres : Slice of Life, Drama, Romance
- Release Date : Aug. 4, 2018
Do you like to have all the feels? Do you like nostalgia? Then you’ll want to check out Flavors of Youth when it hits Netflix on August 4. From the creators of Your Name and 5 Centimeters Per Second (is there any question that the film is going to play with your heart?), the movie is three short films strung together that focus on the impact of childhood memories and experiences.
The beginning is a little slow. The first short has a heavy focus on narration (and noodles), but the beautiful art and writing more than make up for that slow start. The language of the narrator is artistic (which is slightly strange for his rather dull presence) and captures a sense of nostalgia and beauty. It’s almost impossible not to feel emotions stirring within you as the narrator talks about his grandmother and his earliest memories being with her, which involve eating noodles, as well as his first love. It's a powerful short that sets the mood, but it might run a little too long for some people. That's not a reason to pass this up though!
If each short focused as heavily on narration as the first, it might have been a struggle; but the creators knew what they were doing and sequenced the shorts in a way that kept the action rising.
The second short focuses on a model who is struggling to balance her relationship with her sister and her career. The action picks up and there are more moments of actual dialogue than narration. This short balances light moments (drunk nights and love for cake) with some rather serious issues (the unhealthy demands and culture involved in the modeling industry). It ends with a positive message when the main character resets her life by deciding to model her sister's clothes.
The slow moments of the first and second short build toward a grand climax in the third short, which pays off nicely. This one focuses on a love story that almost never happens. A boy and girl, clearly in love, keep missing their chances to confess to the point that they practically forget about one another. Everything about this final short is on point. The dialogue is powerful, the artwork is soft and watery, and everything flows smoothly, even as time shifts from the present to the past.
Honey’s was not alone in feeling the standout strength of the third short. The entire room was captivated by the story and invested their emotions in the love story being portrayed.
Overall, Flavors of Youth is well worth your time. The artwork alone has merit to justify a viewing. However, it’s the small things that the director seams together that really make it worth your time. The building of action and use of silence are done artfully from short to short, creating a sense of harmony between reflecting on the past and acting in the present.