In Theaters

Lost Girls & Love Hotels - Movie Review

  • Movie Review

  • Blu-ray Review

  • Film Details

  • Art

Lost Girls & Love Hotels

What do you call an erotic drama that is neither erotic nor particularly all that dramatic? In the case of the new film from filmmaker William Olsson (An American Affair) called Lost Girls & Love Hotels, you call it boring.

Sure, there’s some nudity and enough kinked-out bedroom shenanigans to give any of the 50 Shades films a run for their money. However, like those films so distinctly reminded us, there’s more to the art form than a little fetishism and some mild bondage. You need a spark. A relationship we can believe in. Sadly, Lost Girls & Love Hotels has neither.

"never finds firm footing in its pointless storytelling and lethargic pacing"


On the other hand, Olsson – working from a script by Catherine Hanrahan who is adapting her own book – may be going for an extreme character study on the self-destructive nature of lonely people. If that’s the case, then he hit much closer to his intended target.

However, even as that, there’s simply not enough to the story. Loneliness and anguish by themselves don’t tell a very good story. It takes a strong character who travels on an interesting arc to make our journey worthwhile. And although Alexandra Daddario (The Layover) shows us that she is more than capable of toting the note, her character in Lost Girls & Love Hotels simply doesn’t have anything interesting to do. Yes, she’s directionless. She’s lost. We get it. But with so little back story, and so much unexplained out-of-the-blue behavior, we’re not invested in her outcome.

On the other hand, one of Olsson’s biggest successes is his Tokyo setting which becomes a major character in this story of sorrow, loneliness and the lengths to which we’ll go for companionship. For the most part, we don’t see the typical neon-lit streets and towering pointed skyscrapers of Tokyo, but instead spend time in the grimy dive bars of the city or in the cramped one-room apartments that rattle as bullet trains speed by. It’s a part of the cleanest city in the world that we typically don’t see very much of and is a much-appreciated change of pace that works nicely against Margaret’s (Daddario) self-destructive tendencies.Lost Girls & Love Hotels

Margaret is an American living in Tokyo who spends her days working (on the days she bothers to show up) as an English pronunciation teacher at a flight attendant school, and her nights drinking to excess with friends and fellow expats Ines (Carice Van Houten, Game of Thrones) and Liam (Andrew Rothney, TV’s Outlander).

But when her night with friends is over, it takes only the wink of an eye for Margaret to get the attention of the next random stranger who she’ll coax into the nearest bathroom stall, empty closet, or one of Tokyo’s pay-by-the-hour love hotels for a few hours of spur-of-the-moment sex. But sex to Margaret is belts, zip-ties, and choke-holds, or anything else that can be tied around her neck.

Of course, Margaret’s version of “sex” is a means of escaping the tedium and pointlessness of her life and is something that doesn’t appeal to every unwitting partner. However, it does get the attention of one handsome stranger in the form of Kazu (Takehiro Hira, The Fighter Pilot). Their whirlwind tryst eventually leads to a passionate romance, but secrets, lies, and a hidden identity threaten to send Margaret into an emotional tailspin.

Well-acted, well-executed, and bathed in the moody atmosphere of Tokyo’s underworld, Lost Girls & Love Hotels is unquestionably a beauty to look at. And Daddario is an intriguing delight as well. But the film never finds firm footing in its pointless storytelling and lethargic pacing. There’s enough good stuff going on here and there to tempt some into sticking it out. But when all is said and done, films such as 9 1/2 Weeks, Lost in Translation, or even Leaving Las Vegas, do a better job at what this one sets out to do.

2/5 stars

Lost Girls & Love Hotels

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor:
Available on Blu-ray

Screen Formats:
Subtitles
:
Audio:

Discs:
Region Encoding:

Lost Girls & Love Hotels

MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, and language.
Runtime:
97 mins
Director
: William Olsson
Writer:
Catherine Hanrahan
Cast:
Alexandra Daddario, Takehiro Hira, Carice van Houten
Genre
: Romance | Drama
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote: "It doesn't make you special or interesting."
Theatrical Distributor:
Astrakan Film AB
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 18, 2020
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Haunted by her past, an English teacher explores love and lust with a dashing yakuza gangster in Tokyo.

Lost Girls & Love Hotels

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home In Theaters / VOD Lost Girls & Love Hotels - Movie Review
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Google+
Letterboxd
Find us on Rotten Tomatoes