Alice Oscura – Featured Writer
Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Lost Girls and Love Hotels is a Swedish-Japanese American dramatic thriller film based on the novel of same name by Catherine Hanrahan, who also wrote the screenplay, and directed by William Olson. Margaret (Alexandra Daddario of Baywatch and We Summon the Darkness) is a Western woman living in Tokyo, Japan. She works as an English teacher in a Japanese flight attendant school by day, but by night she gets caught up in the lifestyle of drinking heavily at Japanese dive bars and losing herself in lover encounters with strange men in order to satisfy her unusual erotic cravings.
When Margaret finally meets a handsome Yakuza named Kazu (Takehiro Hira) she falls in love with him, but traditional Japanese beliefs dictates that they cannot be together. The character of Margaret is haunted by her past. She is basically just existing. She is clearly not passionate about her job even though she is well loved and respected by her students. Her employer Mari (Mariko Tsutsui) has a soft spot for her and even tries to talk to Margaret, letting her know that in many ways she reminds her of herself at one point in her life. Mari expresses her concern but Margaret remains conflicted by her past trauma and continues to lead the double night life until it begins to creep in and affect her job performance.
Margaret descends into total despair when Kazu suddenly disappears on her, one by one her ex-pat friends leave Japan, and she gets evicted from her apartment. She hits rock bottom and her only escape seems to be the erotic encounters in Love Hotels. She continuously puts herself in danger hoping to encounter a killer that has already claimed the lives of several young women already in the city. She just wants the pain and loneliness that she feels to be over with.
The film has an extremely heavy atmosphere because the main character has so many issues and she deals with them in a very unhealthy way. You can see how easy it is for someone without drive and motivation or a natural zest for life to become very lost. The character is not shown to have a familial support system and she speaks repeatedly of suffering from the opposite of being homesick. She just wants to escape, and I do not think she is only referring to escape in the physical sense of the word. I believe that the root to her dabbling in the eroticism created that mental escape that she craved so badly. The problem is that this acts like a drug for most people, and you eventually get more and more daring to the point where you do things that will put your life in jeopardy. That is why it is so important people to seek help.
A lot of people have suffered from different types of trauma to varying degrees. Some are reparable and some are not. But the idea is to speak with someone, preferably a professional, that could guide you and keep you on the right path so that you do not endanger your life or the lives of others. Also, it shows us how meeting the right person at the right time can the change the lives of people for the better.
Lost Girls and Love Hotels does end on a lighter note. One is filled with a sense of hope for the main characters and I dare say that maybe in time after a bit more healing they would be able to find each other once again. It is not a movie for the masses because there are moments where it does drag, but the lead actors have got enough chemistry to hold the audience to stick it out to the end. You will have a sense of sympathy for Margaret and you want everything to turn out well for her.
Just note that this movie has some nudity and adult themes so don’t say that I didn’t warn you. Honestly, the film has gotten my interest piqued enough to seek out the actual novel to get more information on Margaret’s backstory. And that’s saying something if a movie can achieve this effect.
Alice’s Score: 6 out of 10
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump.
I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook, my Instagram is alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For more on me you can click here.