What is the purpose of a name? According to the French philosopher Althusser, when the name is called by others, the object becomes meaningful. In the extension of this theory, in relationships, when someone is called by a specific name, then he or she acquires the meaning, not the one calling the name. However, if the person who speaks the name, does not choose a proper one, then the relationship may be meaningless or may become burdensome for both “participants”.

Shunya Takara’s film “Suitable for You” explores the impact of naming in a relationship and the implications for individuals.

 

Yoshinori and his wife Miki,  his college mate and current business partner Takako and her husband Mitsuru plan a five-day vacation in a small mountain villa. The two people who develop the application always work and they cannot take their hands off their mobile. This habit remains the same since Yoshinori and Takako work to meet a deadline.

Miki and Mitsuru are actually having an affair, and they do not care about the two busy people, instead secretly enjoying their holidays. Miki suddenly realises that something is missing in her marriage as well as her affair, and that this gap will never be filled.  She meets a photographer who chases wild birds in the mountains, and Miki once again realises what she needs.

The main characters show the alienation, loneliness and emptiness that many couples of our time suffer from. It is not a strange combination that of a busy husband and a lonely wife who seeks affection, and a controlling wife and a suffocating husband. Maybe Miki and Mitsuru are attracted to each other because they have something that can fill the void in their lives. Miki has a lot to say about tender-hearted Mitsuru, and Mitsuru is not troubled with Miki ,who is willing to listen to her speaking This is why the director used the word ‘suitable’ to describe the relationship instead of “being in love”. Couples who are not suitable but only “in love” , may end up becoming something like a sickness.

However, this movie might have ended up an affair cliche if the director did not create the third character. The photographer helps develop the story about the emptiness of the individual beings more than love-sickness. He lost his partner since his partner could not bear the weight of fame and their name. After the partner’s death, he chased after the wild birds drifting around, in fact functioning as a bird himself. He walks around. He is kind of a set-up that indicates the meaning of calling and naming. Through the encounter of the two, one who lived in a meaningless life and the other whose life is overwhelmed by meaning, Mr Takara questions what completes one’s life.

This film directly speaks via the characters’ dialogue. This has some advantages considering the clarity of the meaning; on the other hand, it weakens the storyline which should have been integrated in the movie. The close-up switches scenes with conversation in the living room would be better if shot without subtle swayings. The behaviour of the main character changes out of the blue, and that makes it difficult for the audience to get into the story, and the ending is very hard going.  The story of Takako-Mitsuru feels like being used as a prop for highlighting Miki-Yoshihara, and this is ineffective and makes the plot unbalanced.

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