Ray’s review published on Letterboxd:
I struggle a bit with how aggressively the narration goes at the movie's ideas, is something I definitely walk away from this thinking. And even when not the narration, sometimes just the dialogue in general, in particular the final scene. I also think, for all the hullabaloo that a lot of people make about Sono's earlier films being ugly, that this is probably the one that most-so really doesn't hold up in that regard for me. I wouldn't say ugly and there's a wisdom to noting what Sono can get out of shots in this movie, containing a couple of my favorite shots in his filmography almost back to back at one point, but most of this movie is very visually flat, I would say. It's doing other interesting things visually to compensate, particularly in how it's edited and in how situations reprise themselves throughout the movie, but this is among the Sonos I'd most list as not really knocking my doors down in that regard.
It's so heartfelt, though. Even before you see the dedication card at the end you know that there must be some reason Sono's telling this story and that way he handles himself, how there's passion evident in everything he does, communicates a lot of those aforementioned themes where they could be lost in its sometimes lack of grace. Through the light score and conservative use thereof, always emphasizing the ups and never blowing out the downs. Through the performances he directs his cast into, giving many traditional performances that are really stunning at times. And, purely, for the absolute knockout scenes that he can produce chasing the muse that led him into this film, including one of my favorite scenes in a Sono and a good few other moments that make my heart race. The final scene leaves too sour a taste in my mouth to go much higher but this is a movie I cried at and for a while was heavily assuming that would be leading to an even higher rating and I retain a whole lot of that love.