A Story of Yonosuke 横道世之介 / 那年遇上世之介 (2013) – Japan

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 24th June 2013

Director: Shuichi Okita
Writer: Shuichi Yoshida (novel), Shiro Maeda
Starring: Kengo Kora, Yuriko Yoshitaka

Reviewed as part of 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2013
Film Distributed by Golden Scene and Panorama Films

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“A Story for Yonosuke” simply works because it never tries to be more than it is meant to be. The tale of a young and cheerful man going through college and experience life along the way is nothing new, but somehow the film manages to be fresh, simple and even ordinary and all in a good way. Running at an epic 160 minutes, the opening sequences seem a tad longer than it should be, but once the audience is hooked, they are unlikely to be able to detach in one way or another. Sometimes in the midst of such a complicated world, this kind of simplicity is exactly what we need and “A Story of Yonosuke” gives out that feeling and that’s perhaps all we ever wanted.

Kengo Kora is simply magnetic as the coming of age young man learning about love, life and reality all the space of living away from home and in college. From the moment you see his character stumble across on screen; you know he is not ready to face the impending world. However, with a bit of luck and combining with a cheerful outlook, Yonosuke (Kora) not only survives, but even manages to experience what life and growing up is really about. Kora’s unique ability to be genuinely simple and cheerful is extremely endearing to watch. He is perfectly aided by the ever wonderful Yuriko Yoshitaka who is easily a dream girl for any college guy. Rich, smart, funny and incredibly beautiful, however like most guys at that age (as we have all grown up and realized); they don’t know what they are doing. Kora and Yoshitaka have wonderful underlying chemistry and carries the film through to its most genuine emotions.

All in all, “A Story for Yonosuke” is simply about an ordinary young man whose cheerful outlook inspires many of those that he encounters, whether as a friend, lover or even a by passer. It is this unique character that allows the audience to reflect upon that own lives of how these kind people is every bit special and thinking of them either bring yourself to a smile or reminiscent how much better and livelier they once made your life. Maybe Yonosuke is your friend; someone in your group, former lover or even yourself, just the fact that they exists makes the world a better place. While it is true that the film doesn’t try to say much, but in 160 minutes of running time, it is not an easy feat when the audience remains glue to the screen for most of it. Essentially, a film that touches upon your most simplest of emotions… (Neo 2013)

I rated it 8/10

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