Like Someone in Love – The Criterion Collection #708 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

May 25, 2014 by  


Abbas Kiarostami was able to create a film that was artistic, natural but also a storyline that resonates strongly within you because of its captivating story and wonderful performance by Tadashi Okuno, Rin Takanashi and Ryo Kase.  “Like Someone in Love” may not be a Kiarostami masterpiece but it’s a film that is wonderfully filmed, skillfully directed and is highly recommended!

Image are courtesy of © 2014 The Criterion Collection. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Like Someone in Love – The Criterion Collection #708


DURATION: 110 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:66:1 aspect ratio, 3.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio , Japanese with English Subtitles


RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2014

Directed by Abbas Kiarostami

Screenplay by Abbas Kiarostami

Produced by Charles Gilbert, Nathanael Karmitz, Abbas Kiarostami

Executive Producer: Kenzo Horikoshi

Assistant Producer: Mai Ushikubo

Cinematography by Katsumi Yanagijima


Tadashi Okuno as Takashi Watanabe

Rin Takanashi as Akiko

Ryo Kase as Noriaki

Denden as Hiroshi

Reiko Mori as Nagisa

Kaneko Kubota as Akiko’s Grandmother

Abbas Kiarostami has spent his incomparable career exploring the spaces that separate illusion from reality and the simulated from the authentic. At first, his extraordinary and sly Like Someone in Love, which finds the Iranian director in Tokyo, may appear to be among his most straightforward films. Yet with this simple story of the growing bond between a young student and part-time call girl and a grandfatherly client, Kiarostami has constructed an enigmatic but crystalline investigation of affection and desire as complex as his masterful Close-up and Certified Copy in its engagement with the workings of the mercurial human heart.


From award winning filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (“Certified Copy”, “Close-Up”, “Taste of Cherry”) comes his 2012 film “Like Someone in Love” which was produced by France’s MK2 Group and Japan’s Eurospace.

The film would star Tadashi Okuno (“A Taxing Woman”, “Zero Woman: Dangerous Game”), Rin Takanishi (“Samurai Squadron Shinkenger”, “Goth”, “Neo Ultra Q”), Ryo Kase (“Letters from Iwo Jima”, “Tokyo!”, “Hachimitsu to Clover”, “Funky Forest: The First Contact”) and Denden (“Coldfish”, “Uzumaki”).

Created for a budget at $4.8 million, “Like Someone in Love” has received positive reviews from film critics worldwide and was nominated for a 65th Cannes Film Festival.

And now, “Like Someone in Love” will be the third Abbas Kiarostami film to be featured in the Criterion Collection as it will be released via Blu-ray + DVD in May 2014.

“Like Someone in Love” begins with Akiko (portrayed by Rin Takanashi) at a restaurant and lying to her suspicious boyfriend Noriaki (portrayed by Ryo Kase) on the phone that she is hanging out with her friend Nagisa.

The truth is that Akiko is a high-end prostitute and has been told by her pimp to dump her boyfriend but is not wanting to.

One night, she is assigned to a high profile client,  an elderly writer/translator and former professor named Takashi (portrayed by Tadashi Okuno).

But when she arrives, she is shocked that he is more interested in having her as company, going so far to cook her soup from her home town.  And while Akiko wants to speed things up and get to bed with him, while going to the bedroom and laying down, she ends up falling asleep in his bed.

Takashi ends up taking care of Akiko for the night, letting her sleep over and in the morning, taking her to college for her sociology exam.  But when he drops her off, her jealous boyfriend is waiting for her and the two get into a major argument.

Watching the young man with curiosity and also a little disgust, Noriaki ends up going to Takashi and wondering what his relationship with Akiko is and a conversation between the two develops and he immediately thinks that Takashi is her grandfather.  Noriaki goes as far as discussing his jealousy but that is because he loves her and wants to marry her immediately.  He asks Takashi for permission to marry Akiko, but Takashi tells him that he isn’t ready to marry.

When Akiko returns, she is shocked to find Noriaki in Takashi’s car.  And from this moment in time, what happens afterward will change the lives of these three individuals forever.


“Like Someone in Love” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:66:1 aspect ratio).  Shot digitally, the film is well-saturated and you can tell that Abbas Kiarostami and cinematographer Katsumi Yanagijima were particular with natural light and make sure the film is as natural and retaining a realness to the overall film.  I detected no compression or banding issues.  The film looks fantastic in HD!

According to the Criterion Collection, “this  film was shot with a RED One MX digital camera, and the entire production was completed in digital workflow.  The final color-corrected DPX files were output to Rec. 709 high-definition color space for Blu-ray and DVD release.  The master was approved by director Abbas Kiarostami.”


“Like Someone in Love” is presented in Japanese 3.0 DTS-HD MA with English subtitles.  Dialogue is crystal clear along with the Ella Fitzgerald music that Takashi plays in his home.

As for the soundtrack, according to the Criterion Collection, “the 3.0 surround audio for this release was mastered at 24-bit from the original digital audio master files using Pro Tools HD.  Though only three channels of audio are present, the soundtrack was encoded as 5.1 on the disc to maintain compatibility with legacy receivers”.


“Like Someone in Love – The Criterion Collection #708” comes with the following special feature:

  • Making of Like Someone in Love – (46:58) Featuring a 45 minute making of documentary.  From the making of the film, the building of actual sets to Abbas Kiarostami working with the actors, despite the language barrier and more.
  • Trailer – The theatrical trailer for “Like Someone in Love”.


“Like Someone in Love – The Criterion Collection #708” comes with a 20 -page booklet featuring the essay “On Likeness” by Nico Baumbach (assistant professor of film studies at Columbia University).


There is always something magical that I find in an Abbas Kiraostami film.

The films are often about communication and try to retain a natural and real atmosphere courtesy of the film’s characters.  Relationships are not always happy and often there is a conflict of emotions when it comes to a Kiarostami film and “Like Someone in Love” is a fascinating film because of its characters.

The conversations between the individuals seems quite natural, I was mesmerized.  Almost similar to a Eric Rohmer film without the complex topics of conversation (which I love about Rohmer films), with “Like Someone in Love”, you are captivated because the protagonist Akiko is not a pure woman.  She is a high-end prostitute at night, while during the day, she is a girlfriend to a jealous Noriaki and a sociology student.

Whereas, her client is Takashi, an elderly man who has done well for himself in his career as a writer, translator and former professor.  But at the same time, despite his likability, you are drawn to the fact that he is captivated by the younger Akiko.  He is not wanting sex but companionship, while Akiko is so used to men wanting her for sex, she is drawn to him in a fatherly way.

And between these two character is the fiery Noriaki, a suspicious boyfriend who punched out his co-worker for telling him that Akiko was a prostitute and featured in a flyer.  Noriaki loves Akiko and he is naive to what she does at night and automatically assumes that Takashi is her grandfather.

But what happens to these three individuals after they meet is rather interesting, especially as it leads up to its vague ending.  I felt the ending was appropriate and while the pacing was slow, it’s the performances that Kiarostami was able to get from his actors, the variety of emotions that are on display but most of all, it’s the communication, the dialogue that felt so natural, that you feel like a third party and witnessing something so natural, yet so wrong that there is a sense that nothing can come right from these three individuals.

As for a Criterion Collection Blu-ray release, you get the Blu-ray+DVD combo and while picture quality was gorgeous and lossless audio was crystal clear, while not special feature heavy, you do get a fantastic 45-minute documentary on the making of the film.

Overall, Abbas Kiarostami was able to create a film that was artistic, natural but also a storyline that resonates strongly within you because of its captivating story and wonderful performance by Tadashi Okuno, Rin Takanashi and Ryo Kase. “Like Someone in Love” may not be a Kiarostami masterpiece but it’s a film that is wonderfully filmed, skillfully directed and is highly recommended!

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