31 August 2006 | sharptongue
Meandering but pleasant friendly romance
The opening scenes really grabs your attention. After a tennis match, a group of giggling young women tease their handsome coach from inside the shower block. Come on in, they shout. Five naked girls, they tease. And they affect some shock when he accepts the offer, and even greater shock as he takes a shower in a neighbouring cubicle whilst studiously avoiding staring at them. The scene contains some discreet full nudity, and I cannot imagine any Hollywood movie made around the same time (late 1960s) including such a scene, which encapsulates such innocence without pretension.
The tone of the film is mostly light, despite the inclusion of several sad scenes including the death of major characters. The death of what was shaping up to be the male romantic lead, early on in the story, was quite a shock, even though it is pretty clearly signalled.
Being what used to be called a "women's picture", it focuses on the young women and is very talky. The dialogue is pleasant and witty, and gives the appearance of extreme honesty.
Having said that, the lead character appears to be very un-Japanese. She is incredibly self-assured and assertive, and even if she were an Anerican, would be described as confident.
None of the actors are big stars, though they all appear to have had long and respectable careers. The film is a little too long and drags somewhat for the last third. However, it is definitely worth a look.