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I can't not write about this.
From the beginning to the end, the movie gave me the feeling of inner peace. I don't know why but I had this good feeling while watching. Everything was so easy on the eyes. It started off with Sho looking at the sakura tree in bloom.
(Might contain some bias, but I'll try to keep it down to a low level.)
I have watched "Honey and Clover" series. And I must say that the movie was a more subdued version of the story.
Sho vs. Toma
Who was a better Takemoto? I can't really compare the two. They both gave different interpretations of the character. Toma was an angsty Takamoto while Sho was more mellow. I think Toma made his character stand out, he made himself known as the lead star while Sho could have easily melted in the background -- a support. However, imo, Sho's interpretation of the character was closer to what I'd imagine Takemoto to be. His acting was (and is always) more realistic, more natural.
Aoi Yu vs Narumi Riko
I've always been a fan of Aoi's angelic face and I never did like Narumi Riko's acting. (So some bias expected ahead). Appearance wise, I think Hagu was best represented by Aoi. Riko also looked good as Hagu. But the timidness and the weakness of Hagu was something that suited Aoi pretty well. Another difference is that Riko's face is a bit strong while Aoi's is soft, more feminine, more angelic. I think their appearance had a lot to do with who fits the role better. Acting wise, I think Aoi was still better. But Riko didn't suck either. They're both good. It's just that I liked Aoi's interpretation of the role more.
I've read some comparisons between the movie and the live series. And there were a lot of people favoring the drama series.
But for me, I liked the movie better. Not just because Sho was in it or Aoi was in it. I liked everything about the movie: the sense of peace it gave me, the way the actors interpreted the roles in a more subdued manner which suited the theme very well, the soundtrack was great (love James Wendt and Spitz), and everything fit into a great 2-hour film.
Is it watchable/re-watchable? Definitely. If I get the chance, I'm gonna watch it again.