Movie Review: 5 Centimeters per Second (2007)


This movie is delivered in three acts and is just over an hour long. The film’s timeline spans from the 1990s, when mobile phones were not yet ubiquitous, to present-day Japan. It centers on Takaki Tōno and shows his transit from a 13-year-old to a working adult.

The film delivers cleanly and simply. It is straight to the point, yet is packed with subtle nuances. Common with Japanese films of this nature, it is bittersweet. It is also realistic and does its magic without being saccharine.

In the beginning, I had a bone to pick with character development. I felt that Act #2 could have had more room to develop Takaki. However, centering heavily on the girl’s perspective could have been the director’s intention. In that way, Takaki becomes a dissociated, untouchable canvas on which she projects herself upon, and allows her to conclude what she concluded eventually. It also aided in the development of one of the best scenes of the film towards the end of Act #2 – the walk that she took with Takaki to her house.

As we go about the process of living, loose ends accumulate. Growing up is coming to terms with these loose ends, and most importantly, learning how to live with them. Life is learning how to let go in order to move forward, and eventually being strong enough to make a choice between light and darkness.

Overall rating: A

A little bit about what my ratings mean:

  • A: Worth a watch.
  • B: May appeal to some audiences.
  • C: Don’t even bother.

Some of my favorite quotes from this film (*SPOILERS ALERT*):

“And right then it felt like I finally understood where everything was, eternity, the heart , the soul. It was like I was sharing every experience I’d ever had in my past 13 years. And then, the next moment, I became unbearably sad. I didn’t know what to do with these feelings. Her warmth, her soul. How was I supposed to treat them? That, I did not know. Then right then, I clearly understood that we would never be together. Our lives not yet fully realized, the vast expanse of time. They lay before us and there was nothing we could do. But then, all my worries, all my doubts, started melting away. All that was left were Akari’s soft lips on mine.”

“By just living one’s life, sadness accumulates here and there, be it in the blankets hung out in the sun to dry, the toothbrushes in the bathroom, and the phone history logs. In the last several years, I have forged ahead without any regard, just to touch what I cannot reach. Without understanding the sources from which this menacing thought surged forth from, I continued working.”

“Maybe we tried to leave as much memories of ourselves with each other because we knew one day we wouldn’t be together any more.”



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