Lost Girls and Love Hotels review – submission and secrets in erotic Tokyo drama

Alexandra Daddario’s American English teacher drinks, parties and explores BDSM in this cool movie that only occasionally veers into orientalism

Author and artist Catherine Hanrahan has adapted her novel of the same name for the screen and William Olsson directs. It is the story of Margaret, a young American woman in Tokyo, who has snagged a job teaching trainee flight attendants how to enunciate their English properly. Margaret drinks a lot, parties a lot, shows up hungover and late to work; she is also into BDSM, and is a sub, but can’t find any satisfactory partner, until she chances across Kazu (Takehiro Hira), a yakuza mobster whose naked body naturally turns out to be almost completely covered in scary tattoos. He has exactly the right fiercely negligent ruthlessness when he takes her to love hotels, but through an ironic quirk of fate turns out to have a softer side – something that this liaison with Margaret has unlocked, and in bed confesses to her mournfully that he is about to get married, and this lends something weirdly poignant and melancholy to their eroticism.

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