Patrick Jensen’s review published on Letterboxd:
Sion Sono has a bit of a reputation. From what I've heard and read here on Letterboxd, his style of filmmaking can simply be put down as being insane. Not just in terms of productivity, but also in terms of various elements such as plot, characters, runtime, editing, you name it. So it was a no-brainer for me when I found Love Exposure on YouTube (with subtitles) to finally sit down and watch a Sion Sono film. While watching the film, and after, my rating for this film was volatile as all hell, ranging from a mere three stars to the coveted five stars. However, now that I've let the film sink in, I can confidently say that I absolutely love this film with all of my heart.
If you had told me beforehand that it was possible to make David Lynch's Wild at Heart with deeper characterization and at an epic scale, whilst still maintaining a solid pace, I would have punched you in the face. That should have been an impossible task. However, Sion Sono managed to do exactly that. This is Wild at Heart on steroids and added intelligence, and Sono manages to balance all emotions without ever jumping the shark or going off on too weird tangents. The pacing is solid all around, the low-key lighting and cinematography perfectly highlight the outsider nature of all our central characters and the editing is top-notch as well, as no scene ever lingers for longer than necessary. The writing is delightful as well, juggling heavy themes such as abuse, neglect, political scandals and cults, along with more lighthearted content such as the power of love and over-the-top choreography for panty photography (although that is shady as all hell). But wait, there's more! The characters are all going through a believable journey of understanding themselves, distinguishing between love and lust and learning to trust the people they want to keep close to themselves. Sion Sono and his cast and crew do their utmost to make sure that this four-hour extravaganza never becomes boring and remains captivating throughout, and they succeed on all parameters.
Love Exposure is an absolute masterpiece in all of its glorious insanity. I can definitely see it as a film that won't be for everybody, but I love everything this film presented me with. One thing is certain, though. I'm looking forward to watching more Sion Sono films in the future.