Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

Director: Ryƫsuke Hamaguchi
Year Released: 2021
Rating: 2.0

This three-part film from Hamaguchi tries to show how "whimsical" life can be (or something to that effect): in the first piece, fashion model Meiko (Kotone Furukawa) talks to her friend Tsugumi (Hyunri) about her new love interest only to realize she's dating Meiko's ex-boyfriend Kazuaki (Ayumu Nakajima), in the middle section Sasaki (Shouma Kai) asks his married lover Nao (Katsuki Mori) to "honey trap" ("seduce") the professor (Kiyohiko Shibukawa) who flunked him and in the last third Natsuko (Fusako Urabe) attends her high school reunion and has a run-in with Aya (Aoba Kawai) who she mistakes as a former lover ... and then they engage in role-play.  The original Japanese title translates to Coincidence and Imagination and while all of the stories are quaint, only the first one really lives up to the "Fantasy" part: for the (protracted) second section I could not see how or why Sasaki didn't get Nao to leave immediately (by calling security or walking out, which is what we're told to do), and the final piece is morose but very flat.  Anthology films are generally tough to make "work" and while I thought he had the right idea at the beginning - Meiko literally gets a "do-over" after saying the wrong thing and the scene resets itself - the other two are less fanciful and endearing (although I appreciate the stylistic Ozu reference in "Door Wide Open").