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Jan 08 2013

From Me to You (Review)

From Me to You
Review by Jen Wang

Drama-MAX-Kimi-ni-Todoke-Poster-A

In a way From Me to You, known in Japan as Kimi ni Todoke, is a typical popular guy-meets-shy girl story. Sawako Kuwanuma (Mikako Tabe) grew up with the misfortune of looking like Sadako from The Ring. She is actually a sweet young girl, but her social anxiety gives her a dour appearance. Her classmates ostracize her until the beginning of her first year in high school when she meets Shota Kazehaya (Haruma Miura), a guy is liked by all his classmates.

However, the movie is a lot deeper than most shoujo manga adaptations. Much of the movie is about how appearances are deceiving, and even Sawako learns not to misjudge her friends. Sawako’s on-screen metamorphosis is gradual; she doesn’t need a makeover to show off her inner beauty. There’s a lovely moment when the wind blows her hair out of her face and she’s smiling. The audience sees what Kazehaya has seen since day one.

For a film that crams multiple volumes of the manga into two hours, From Me to You feels slow. It fits the easy-going mood and subdued colors though. Sawako and Kazehaya’s relationship also plods along, which may frustrate some, but the pacing plays a key role in a lesson about timing, missed opportunities, and life changing events.

Haruma Miura charms as the boy-next-door, and Mikako Tabe brought realism to Sawako, who could have easily been a caricature given the unusual reason for her being bullied. The adults, on the other hand, were less believable. Arata, who plays the homeroom teacher, goes way over-the-top with his character’s nosy antics, and it sometimes borders on creepy. Overall though, the casting was excellent.

From Me to You brings back the pleasant and painful experiences of high school, unrequited and first loves, and the journey of finding one’s place in the world among friends. It’s a reminder that compassion can really go a long way.

Recommendation: Definitely worth checking out, but it may not be for those who prefer more action or faster-paced romance.