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Hana and Alice (2004)

Hana to Arisu (original title)
When two best friends develop a crush on the same boy, they develop a plan to trick him into dating them.

Director:

Shunji Iwai

Writer:

Shunji Iwai
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Anne Suzuki ... Hana
Yû Aoi ... Setsuko "Alice" Arisugawa
Tomohiro Kaku Tomohiro Kaku ... Masashi Miyamoto
Shôko Aida Shôko Aida ... Alice's Mother
Hiroshi Abe ... Alice's Mother's Companion
Sei Hiraizumi Sei Hiraizumi ... Alice's Father
Tae Kimura Tae Kimura ... Ballet Teacher
Takao Ohsawa ... Photographer
Ryôko Hirosue ... Editor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eri Fuse
Ayumi Itô
Kazusa Matsuda Kazusa Matsuda
Yoshiyuki Morishita Yoshiyuki Morishita ... Audition Juror
Makoto Sakamoto Makoto Sakamoto
Hiroko Sakurakawa Hiroko Sakurakawa
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Storyline

Upon entering high school, two best friends named Hana and Alice notice a boy a year older them while waiting for the train, and they both develop a pretty strong crush on him. One day while secretly following him home, Hana witnesses the boy walk right into a wall and pass out. When he wakes up, she lies and convinces him that he must have amnesia, because he doesn't remember the fact that she was his girlfriend. After this, hilarity ensues as the two girls attempt to run with the lie. Of course, complications soon arise. Written by John Rogos

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Best friends and boyfriends: which one will you choose?

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese | Mandarin

Release Date:

13 March 2004 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Hana and Alice See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$654,448
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rockwell Eyes See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The opening scene where Hana and Alice are walking on their way to school appears as a continuation of them walking together in the end scene of The Murder Case of Hana & Alice (2015). See more »

Quotes

Setsuko "Alice" Arisugawa: I saw 'Hannibal' on satellite last night.
Hana: So did I.
Setsuko "Alice" Arisugawa: I was scared.
Hana: Isn't he creepy?
Setsuko "Alice" Arisugawa: Yeah. Don't you think real people are scarier... than zombies and ghosts?
See more »

Connections

References Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Japanese magic realism
22 November 2010 | by CountZero313See all my reviews

Iwai's tale of friendship and love among 15-year-olds is a bitter-sweet affair, joyous and poignant in fragments. It is not a perfect film, but still imbued with enough of Iwai's visual flair and inventiveness to raise it above much of what Japan has offered up in the first decade of the 21st century.

Hana (Anne Suzuki) is inadvertently brought to Ma-kun by her best friend Alice (Yû Aoi). She utilizes an accident to convince clumsy Ma-kun (Tomohiro Kaku) that he has lost his memory and that she is the love of his life. The lie grows out of control, and sucks in the best friend. Alice, meanwhile, has her own troubles to contend with, namely an eccentric mother, disinterested father, and an acting/modeling opportunity that continually misfires.

Like Iwai's 'Love Letter', the essentials of the plot are intricately laid out, but ultimately matter less than the shot-by-shot, scene-by-scene poetry conjured up by camera, light and direction. There is one breathtaking shot in a classroom, when Astro Boy is revealed watching brazenly over a lover's tiff. The manga motif serves to underline the heightened emotions and extreme dramatics of the tale. Similar optical playfulness is employed when Hana watches Ma-kun on the train, seemingly in conversation with his girlfriend. That shot is matched later when we are optically fooled into thinking Ma-kun will kiss Alice. It is this continual ability to surprise and delight that means the 2-hour plus running time, while self-indulgent, manages not to feel too much of an imposition.

There are some wonderful set pieces to celebrate here. Alice's father making a complete mess of gifting his daughter a fountain pen is painful and hilarious. Ditto Hana's mother appearing in her undies before a shell-shocked Ma-kun. A klutzy classmate's photos of the girls in ballet tutus turn out to be magical. These scenes, stagy and contrived in the hands of a lesser mortal, are fluid, vivid and delightful when presented by Iwai.

It is testament to Iwai's genius that a host of A-listers line up for walk-on parts in this film. For example, Hirsohi Abe, used to playing leads, is practically an extra here when he shows up as the boyfriend of Alice's mum. What other living director elicits such reverence? Hana and Alice glows, quite literally. The film captures that vividness of passionate friendships and love first encountered that only the qualia of a 15-year-old knows. Ultimately, the running time is a shade too flabby to count it among Iwai's masterpieces (the plural is deliberate), but this is a subtle, complex film worthy of repeat viewing.


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