AIDS Education Film
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I greatly admire Japanese movies like Koreeda's "Maborosi" and Kurasawa's epics. Unfortunately I have to say Cosmos Flower was a completely 2-dimensional movie. It was entirely predictable (the entire storyline is summed up in the review above) and seemed more like a Japanese AIDS education movie for teenagers than the moving drama it could've been. (No you can't get AIDS by swimming in a swimming pool with someone who has AIDS. OK, we get it. And I'm sorry some Japanese people face social and economic ostracism if they interact with AIDS patients and their families. I agree people need to grow up. OK, next movie.)The cinematography was not "exquisite". Sure, it was all in crisp, clear technicolor (or fujifilm perhaps) but in terms of an artistic eye it just didn't have anything very impressive going on. Explanation scenes were too long, their point obvious, and worse, interesting questions were ignored and the few poignant moments just didn't make it worth sitting through the rest of it.It would've been far more interesting to start with Akiko *before* she got AIDS, perhaps even offer flashbacks to her early childhood so we get a sense of who she was before. Then follow her through finding out she's been infected (from a not-her-fault blood transfusion) and how she comes to terms with the disease her own immanent mortality (other than always "put on a happy face" as Japanese women always seem to do). *Then* take the story back home and have her perhaps show others how to face AIDS by facing them sqarely with her courage and example. Something...Anything...But what we got was the story starting with her suddenly back home in Japan. (How did she get there? What kind of person was she before? What is important to her and why? Why should the viewer care about her? How did she deal with finding out she would likely die very young? As a 15 year old does she even understand what "dying of AIDS" means? Is there any sadness or regret behind her perpetually innocent and cheerful face? Why didn't the director show us that side of her? Why doesn't she appear at all sick with auto-immune deficiency syndrome before peacfully and ceremoniously dying?) I'm left with all these questions completely unaddressed which really points to the bigger question which is why I did I bother to buy this movie in the first place? We are presented with a cute little girl that goes predictably along to her demise. Sad perhaps but that too is tightly scripted. There is nothing here but people turning away from an innocent AIDS-stricken child, then feeling guilty (on cue) when her best friend gives a dramatic and painful (to watch) plea for compassion. Of course by then it's too late since Akiko lies dying in the hospital and passes away with nary a cough or coldsore. (I'll bet the screenwriter was a minor.)Frankly there's nothing difficult or terribly heart-wrenching in this rather predictable Morality Play. If you want to see a film about what people who contract AIDS go through, see "Philadelphia." Now that movie deserves 5 stars!If you're just looking for a really great film by a Japanese director, one that actually deals with complex and ambiguous characters, see "Maborosi" instead. It contains some of the most exquisitely filmed and subtley paced cinematography I've ever seen."