12 October 2017 11:57 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Memory has a way of distorting time, stretching it or compressing it according to our emotional response to the events at hand. That subjective temporal elasticity is captured in “Narratage,” a trembling, intricately structured first-love story from well-regarded Japanese helmer Isao Yukisada — though at 140 minutes, this delicate tale risks letting the viewer’s own mind wander off at its own pace. When it does hold our attention, that’s largely thanks to its young star Kasumi Arimura, sweetly affecting as a sensitive teen held in limbo by an enduring love for her kindly high school teacher. Gliding past the less palatable aspects of the student-master relationship at its core, Yukisada’s film instead places both lovers on an equal plane of heartsore vulnerability, with alternately tender and maudlin results. Adapted from a Japanese bestseller, “Narratage” should perform well at home, but its softness makes for a harder sell internationally.

“I guess you’ve matured,” says youngish »

- Guy Lodge

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