Much of All About Lily Chou-Chou is mesmerizing: some of its plaintiveness could make you weep. If only Mr. Iwai trusted the material enough.
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There's an eerie coolness to this film that's quite unsettling and un-Oshima-like. Rather lengthy, it requires patience. But adventurous moviegoers aren't likely to mind.
Iwai's ambitious drama is strikingly shot, poignantly acted by a splendid young cast, and enriched by surprising use of Debussy classics on the soundtrack.
One of the most haunting, viciously honest coming-of-age films in recent memory.
The concept was interesting and charming in "Love Letters," up to a point, but here it quickly becomes repetitive, obvious, and dull.
Continually jarring. Although the film's narrative thread may prove chronically elusive, Iwai's depiction of what life can be like for far too many teens comes across loud and clear.
Gorgeously shot tableaux of random adolescent brutality are interrupted by flashes of computer garble and chat-room talk, backed by ''Lily's'' music, with its blend of Debussy-like arpeggios and Enya-like sighing.
It's a uniquely lonely film, and one of the year's most memorable.
So enigmatic, oblique and meandering that it's like coded religious texts that requires monks to decipher.
Drifting through time and space without firmly situating the viewer, Iwai's elliptical style requires patience, but also a willingness to be carried along by its gorgeous, dreamy lyricism.