Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy


Drama / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 98%
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 2038

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
January 09, 2022 at 02:31 PM


Hyunri as Tsugumi
1.09 GB
Japanese 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 1 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by PedroPires90 8 / 10


Among the best dialogues I've ever seen. Touching, emotional and very smart. It's the kind of film that you need to be 100% on it but it really worths. All these characters seem real and it's all about life choices.

Reviewed by politic1983 7 / 10


Short film anthologies are pretty much reserved for the festival circuit, and, unless weaved together into a wider narrative structure, their exposure is limited. For Ryusuke Hamaguchi's "Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy", it is largely a companion piece to go alongside his widely fancied "Drive My Car" that it is currently touring with. But, is it more than just an addition to gain him as much exposure as possible in what is becoming his most successful year?

In a trio of unrelated parts, we see stories of chance and opportunity that all backfire on the protagonists, but also result in interesting dialogue between the two opposing characters.

To start, in "Magic (or Something Less Assuring)" Meiko (Kotone Furukawa) chats with friend Tsugumi (Hyunri) in the back of a taxi. Tsugumi discusses her current love interest and her uncertainties about the relationship's future. Listening on, Meiko quickly realises she is discussing her former boyfriend Kazuaki (Ayumu Nakajima): a man with whom her relationship ended badly. Immediately, she confronts him at his office late at night in a heated debate, but the result is not to ward him off Tsugumi, but give the couple her endorsement.

Secondly in "Door Wide Open", after reading the sexually-charged Akutagawa Prize-winning work by Segawa (Kiyohiko Shibukawa), students Nao (Katsuki Mori) and Sasaki (Shouma Kai) plot to blackmail the lecturer when Nao goes to his office to discuss the text. Trying to get privacy, Nao attempts to record their discussion, but Segawa insists his office door is left open while discussing the inspiration for his novel. Nao is taken-aback as she reads from the text, which Segawa enjoys, as she is given something of an education on literature.

To finish, Moka (Fusako Urabe) sees Nana (Aoba Kawai) passing on the escalator outside Sendai train station. Immediately reacting, Moka races to who she believes is her former classmate, with Nana reacting in-kind. Inviting Moka back to her family home, Nana discusses her school days with Moka and how they were never that close. So distant in fact, that as discussions progress, they realise it is a case of mistaken identity; Nana simply going along with Moka's enthusiasm.

For a film which is essentially two-way dialogues throughout, you need a strong script, and Hamaguchi certainly does a good job of writing dialogue which sees the story turned on its head in terms of expectations. Coupled with the actors being given the script to dry run with each other, only delivering any expression 'on the night,' as it were, the emotional changes are cleverly drawn out, almost revelatory.

Interestingly, Hamaguchi starts us off with the most challenging scenario of a love triangle. At times, the debate between Meiko and Kazuaki is irritating as Meiko seemingly confronts him to inform him she doesn't want anything to do with him anymore. But, as is the way with difficult love stories, the discussion is far from easy, and as the talks progress, the pair become more and more on each other's side. However, to start, this isn't an easy entry point for the audience, making it a bold introduction.

"Door Wide Open" is the most comedic of the trio, as the young upstart gets their comeuppance. The sexual nature of Segawa's text will provide some smiles, but the parting shot of Nao's request of Segawa is hilarious in its absurdity. Shibukawa as Segawa is fully deadpan, barely showing a blink of emotion throughout the discussion, almost as if he's toying with the student. This makes his agreement to her request all the more hilarious.

"Once Again" also has a humorous end, but is more a lament on memories of school and growing older. To close, it is the lightest of the three shorts and a more obvious starting point. But, as is the way with each of the dialogues, Hamaguchi turns it on its head, giving us lighter relief as we go on.

With the relative twist offered at the end of "Magic", the style and gimmick of the trio see Hamaguchi do his best impression of Hong Sang-soo, and by definition Eric Rohmer, with his extended and awkward, yet realistic, dialogue between two characters in an unusual situation. This, therefore, can't be considered a completely original work, but one well-constructed and executed.

If this is merely to act as a companion piece to "Drive My Car" to get him greater plaudits at festivals - and points make prizes - then it certainly achieves its aim, but it can certainly go the distance alone.


Reviewed by wickedmikehampton 8 / 10

What if you had made a different life choice?

Director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi made me emotional again. His previous 'Happy Hour' remains the longest movie I've seen. It had 5 hours to hug my approval and persuade me that it wasn't a soapie but real life. This time, the 2-hour 'Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy' anthology sucked me in quicker and deeper.

Themes of failed love, loneliness and regret link three stories with different plots and characters. The first was interesting enough to keep me going but it was the middle and end segments that stung my heart. That was made possible through believably flawed characters and well-constructed dialogue.

There are no special effects, grand stage sets or bright lipsticks here. What is said is of utmost importance, as is the rhythm it finds (which is the combination of good screenwriting and remarkable acting).

In the theory of parallel universes, our infinitive selves have had sex with and married different people, been childless and impregnated many, died young and lived to be a century, been happy and depressed.

I use the above only for emphasis because the "fantasy" in this movie title is grounded in only the "What if?" part.

What if I had loved another and they had loved me? And the unasked, accompanying question is "Would I be happier now?"

I may now be wiser and more convinced of myself but what built me can never be erased. Psychology may shift bricks around, add another floor and paint, but all of who I have been is still here. I know this because 'Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy' unexpectedly touched me.

My older self doesn't indulge in wasteful contemplation but my younger self spent too much time reflecting on what outcomes different choices would have made. I was wonderfully reminded of those painful years. "Wonderful" because a good movie makes me feel.

Now I'm searching for the filmographies of the shining actresses who are unfortunately obscure. Such talent must surely mean there's more sincere emotion to be discovered.

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