Lost Girls and Love Hotels (2020) Review – Alone is about People


Existence is nothing but a shared experience of Loneliness. The film, fiction or any piece of art, tries to share those experiences with it’s audience. Lost Girls and Love Hotels, explores a journey of cynicism, love,sex, isolation and most importantly loneliness, in a journey, where all the above words seem synonymous.

Lost Girls and Love Hotels, based on a 2006 novel of the same name written by Catherine Hanrahan, is a dark psychological depiction of a lonely woman, rugged by circumstances and pushed to pain and misery in life. Though her choices and cynicism she repels any improvement in her life, until a man arrives.

The Story

Lost Girls and Love Hotels, set in Tokyo centers around Margaret (Alexandra Daddario), a discontent young English woman who spends her days drifting through her job teaching English pronunciation at a Japanese flight attendant training school. 

At night, she routinely gets drunk with her two English friends before going out to find a new man who would take her to a love hotel – a popular sleazy hotel formerly found in Tokyo for anonymous kinky sex.

This is Margaret’s Life and she is totally dissatisfied. Neither the men make her happy nor her job. Things are pretty dull until one night, she catches the eye of the mysterious and handsome man, Kazu (Takehiro Hira). 

Kazu radiates an air of mysticism that makes him addictive. Even Margaret feels that he is perfectly on her wavelength, but Kazu, soon reveals that he is going to be married which further sends Margaret into her dark shell leading to self-destruction first and self-realization later.

Sometimes alone is about People.

Lost Girls and Love Hotels portrays a sense of Loneliness, in humans when they are around other human beings. This evolving form of Loneliness, experienced in metro cities, are seen in other romantic films like “Lost in Translation”, “Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind” and “Her.”

The psychological impact of this abandonment is that any person who shows a little bit of interest in us, we mistakenly take that as Love. It happened with Margaret too, when Kazu was being nice to her, but when Kazu leaves, the circle of isolation in Margret’s life expands further than it was before. This leads to her constant visits to Love hotels, making out with strange men, feeling this could be a therapy to fill the gaps of  loneliness in her life. 

In a book, the feelings of separation and solitude is more effective, because psychologically it happens inside you and reading affects you more internally than images do. Images create feelings, but reading fabricate thoughts, at least while you are going through that experience. Hence, when Kazu leaves Magaret, not much happens in “Lost Girls and Love Hotels,” and thus it becomes dull and monotonous, basically because the film fails to instill in the viewers the sense of remoteness in them, that is felt by Margaret.

However, Kazu’s own seclusion as portrayed on screen is marvelous and when you see this guy on screen, you are sure to fall in love with him, because behind this hard faced man, there lies an emotional human. Takehiro Hira, shines in the skin of Kazu and all the dialogues he speaks, pierces one’s heart.

The script incorporates some really interesting and captivating snippets through other characters that might not influence Margaret directly, but would really make you think about her indirectly. Some of these characters’ evolution is so brilliant that it leaves you with moist eyes in the end.

The character of Margaret is not much of an appeal, yet it makes you feel good about her. For her, it is a journey from self destruction to self realization.

Lost Girls and Love Hotels, is uninteresting as a psychological drama, and less passionate to be called a romance, not kinky enough to called a sex drama either, but still sends you on a subtle, balanced tour of loneliness and isolation, without complicating much. It’s an easy watch and anyone who prefers slow drama should really check this out, at least for the handsome vulnerable man, Takehiro Hira as Kazu.

Lost Girls and Love Hotels is a drama thriller directed by William Olsson, and is based on the book by Catherine Hanrahan. The film was released in 2020 and is available on Video-on-Demand.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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