Review by David Cirone
The magic of Flying Colors is also its weakness. You know what you’re getting from the very first moments — it’s the kind of feel-good, predictable fast-food film that modern Japanese cinema and film excel at. It’s the strength of the actors and the simplicity of execution that make it worthwhile nonetheless.
A top-notch cast, led by Kasumi Arimura as under-achieving student Sayaka Kudo and Atsushi Ito as her dedicated cram-school tutor, manage earnest performances that surpass the candy-coated script, and I found myself rooting for Sayaka as she pushes herself relentlessly toward her dream of attending the prestigious Keio University.
Sayaka’s childhood dream was to make friends, and by all accounts she’s been successful. Staying out all night with her BFFs is a regular routine, even if it comes at the expense of her studies. She’s ranked among the lowest in her high school class and has no hope of passing college entrance exams.
When Sayaka meets Yoshitaka Tsubota (Ito), the head of Seito cram school, he praises her imagination (“genius level”) and urges her to believe in herself. “Keio boys sound hot,” so she picks top-ranked Keio University as her target.